CalArts, Bijou Theater
FILM/VIDEO: Leighton Pierce’s cinema transforms ordinary sounds and visual impressions into ecstatic experiences filled with new kinds of movements and sensory rediscoveries of the world. Often hovering between definition and abstraction, and between gestural implication and narrative meaning, his musical eye and ear find beauty and magic in everyday places and situations.
"At times, it seems Pierce is capturing the beauty, the ecstasy contained in matter before its inevitable disappearance. Each of these short works is an exploration of such transient rhythms … refracted and folded such that the captured quotidian moment becomes protracted, eternal." —Mubarak Ali, New Zealand Film Festival
Still: Water Seeking its Level
Stills: Peripheral Induction
Retrograde Premonition and Peripheral Induction look and sound like floating mind—the vicissitudes of thought, feeling, and the senses. Not limited by the portrayal of actual events, these videos work to encourage a roaming consciousness through images and sounds that may or may not be present.
Pierce constructs these videos from images recorded with a moving handheld digital still camera at long exposures. He then weaves the stills into video shots. Each individual image bears the mark of time from motion blur—a blur that may in fact contradict the apparent motion of the frame. He composes the entire soundscape as a counterpoint once picture editing is complete.
"The call is to provide a clear sense of embodied wholeness while simultaneously denying the possibility of objectification-- a moving image and sound practice that inhabits the very edges of the "narrativizing" impulse. The rug is present while it is simultaneously being slipped out from under you." – Leighton Pierce
(Fragments and in-progress)
Leighton Pierce creates experiences in transformative time using film, video, and sound. He creates multi-channel site-specific installations as well as single channel works that have been exhibited in major art museums and film festivals throughout the world including The Whitney Bienniale, Sundance, San Francisco, New York, Tribeca, and Rotterdam Film Festivals, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Musée d’art contemporain in Montréal, and The Sheldon Art Museum. Retrospectives of his works have been presented at venues such as, The New Zealand Film Festival, Lincoln Center, The Cinémathèque française, Festival Nemo, and Pompidou Center in Paris, and at The Lisbon Biennale. He has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, The Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital.
Pierce studied ceramics and music composition, especially jazz and electronic music, before making films. His first move into filmmaking came about from his desire to add a visual component to taped music. It is a continuation of this early interest in music and the related process of constructing of emotional experiences in time that continue to guide his work.
Pierce is currently Acting Dean of the School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute In Brooklyn, NY.
"I feel comfortable in saying that it jumps up to the highest levels of art, in which the combination of technical skills and comprehensions, and some given "subject" somehow combine to produce far more than either could do on their own. One can see this quality in Vermeer, in Caravaggio, in Uccello’s Battles, in Rembrandt’s self-portraits, or in Beethoven’s late Quartets. And one can see it here." – Jon Jost