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150 Years of Impact

Experimental Filmmakers to Headline Syracuse Symposium March 8

Keren Shavit, Eva Marie Rødbro known for shattering boundies between documentarian, subject

Mar 1, 2018 — Article by: Rob Enslin


Eva Marie Rødbro's "Tropistic Creatures" (2018) on the Urban Video Project's architectural projection venue at the Everson Museum.

Syracuse Symposium continues its yearlong survey of “Belonging” with a visit by experimental video artists Keren Shavit and Eva Marie Rødbro.

On Thursday, March 8, Shavit and Rødbro will host an indoor screening of three of their pieces, followed by an audience Q&A, at 6:30 p.m. in Watson Theater (316 Waverly Ave.). “AKIN” is the title of both the program and a public exhibition of their work at the Urban Video Project’s (UVP) architectural projection venue at the Everson Museum, running through Saturday, March 31.

The indoor screening is free and open to the public, and concludes with an artist reception. UVP is sponsoring the evening, with support from the Department of Transmedia in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). For more information, contact the Syracuse University Humanities Center in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) at 315.443.7192 or visit

“Keren Shavit and Eva Marie Rødbro explore ‘Belonging’ in their inventive documentaries of American families,” says Vivian May, director of the Humanities Center and professor of women’s and gender studies in A&S. “As filmmakers, they insert themselves into the intimate dynamics unfolding among their subjects. Their hybrid, interactive approach shifts boundaries and challenges disembodied perception.”

Organizer Anneka Herre echoes these sentiments. “Their work shatters the customary relationship between documentarian and subject, exploring how fraught it can be with conflicting social emotions of recognition, rejection, misunderstanding, alliance and empathy,” says Herre, director of UVP and an adjunct professor of transmedia in VPA. “Both artists embed themselves within the family structures and tightly knit subcultures they document. The result is a sometimes uncomfortable experience, in which audience members are led to reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions.”

Shavit is a Brooklyn-based mixed media artist and curator whose work has appeared throughout the United States, Germany, Poland, Israel, China, Norway and Iceland. After graduating from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, she studied at the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film in Lodz (Poland) and the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem. She was an artist-in-residence at Light Work in October 2014.

A native of Denmark, Rødbro is a photographer and an award-winning filmmaker who explores youth culture in various contexts. Her recent short “We Chose the Milky Way” (2015) screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and Ann Arbor Film Festival, where, at the latter, it won the George Manupelli Founder’s Spirit Award. She was educated at art academies in Denmark and the Netherlands.

The indoor screening includes “FIG” (2016), in which Shavit inserts herself into an Appalachian family; “I Touched Her Legs” (2010), Rødbro’s award-winning documentary about a group of Southern teens; and “Tropistic Creatures” (2018), a special edit from Rødbro’s new project, which revisits the family from “I Touched Her Legs.”

“‘Tropistic Creatures’ is a reference to tropism, the biological phenomenon of movement or growth in response to environmental stimulus,” Herre says. “The piece is a dreamy montage of children playing on asphalt lit by street lamps, a solar eclipse, animals both familiar and strange, plants that grow at night or in the dark—all interposed with the children’s poetic understanding and misunderstanding of the complexity of family relations.”

Organized and presented by the Humanities Center, Syracuse Symposium is a public humanities series that revolves around an annual theme. Programs include lectures, workshops, performances, exhibits, films and readings. Located in the Tolley Humanities Building, the Humanities Center serves the campus community by cultivating diverse forms of scholarship, sponsoring a broad range of programming and partnerships and addressing enduring questions and pressing social issues.
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Rob Enslin