ITHACA, NY—A world premiere of “Panic Hits Home,” an installation by new media artist Renate Ferro, will be one of the highlights of Ithaca College’s 2007 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF). Free and open to the public, the exhibit of Ferro’s new work may be seen in the Handwerker Gallery from Monday, March 26, to Sunday, April 1. The public is also invited to attend an artist’s reception in the gallery on Thursday, March 29, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“Panic Hits Home” was inspired by Ferro’s childhood memories of her mother stockpiling food and water in their family’s fruit cellar during the Cuban Missile Crisis and her own unexpected paranoia of the terror stemming from 9/11. Playing on the retrospective confusions between trauma then and now, Ferro juxtaposes original 1960s television footage and public service announcements promoting duck and cover and bomb-shelter protection with the high-tech television and web directives of our contemporary Department of Homeland Security.
Central to the project are a series of videotaped interviews of cross-generational subjects who recount stories about their personal responses to the panic of both time periods. There is an ironic similarity to the tone and content of these interviews, retelling anecdotes from each period. Whether regarding security and protection from the fallout of impending nuclear warheads or the possibility of additional terrorist attacks 40 years later, the installation becomes a catalyst for the confusing intermix of fright and anxiety, both present and past.
Currently a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Art at Cornell University, Ferro worked as a freelance artist for over 20 years, focusing on drawing, painting, and printmaking. Her current installations incorporate projection, digital video, sound, and motion sensors. Her work is represented in both corporate and private collections across the United States, as well as in Canada, France, Germany and Australia. Her artwork has been published in such journals as “Diacritics,” “Theatre Journal” and “Epoch. Ferro received her M.F.A. in new media from Cornell University in 2004.
FLEFF 2007 has expanded to 150 events that include galas, films, videos, music, multimedia events and discussions designed to provoke new ways of looking at the world around us. The festival’s offerings are organized around four programming streams: Maps and Memes, Metropoli, Panic Attacks, and Soundscaping. Under those categories fall a host of presentations, including “Man with a Movie Camera” (a 1929 Soviet silent film with the world premiere of an improvisational musical score by electric cellist Chris White and trumpeter, saxophonist, keyboard player and percussion artist Peter Dodge), “Listening Room” (a radio special with NPR radio producer Jonathan Miller), and a talk and reading by Sarah Mhkonza, City of Asylum writer from Swaziland.
For more information on “Panic Hits Home” or FLEFF, contact festival coordinators Patricia Zimmermann at (607) 274-3431 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tom Shevory at (607) 274-1347 or email@example.com