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Maya Deren: Choreographed for Camera

Saturday, Apr 22, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Location: Redstone Theater

Screening, reading, and book signing with Mark Alice Durant 

All screened on 16mm

Maya Deren is one of the most influential figures in American avant-garde cinema. Her work possesses dreamlike qualities, features innovative editing and camera techniques, and serves as an exploration of the unconscious mind. We are pleased to welcome special guest Mark Alice Durant, author of the new book, Maya Deren: Choreographed for Camera, for a program exploring Deren’s life and work. Durant will guide us through a discussion of Deren’s unique contributions to experimental film, followed by a reading and book signing.

A program of Deren’s most iconic films will be screened on 16mm following the reading and discussion. Films include:

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, 18 mins.): Deren’s most famous and influential film is often cited as a cornerstone of American avant-garde cinema. The film explores the psyche of a woman who descends into a dreamlike world of surreal imagery, doubling, and mirroring.  

At Land (1944, 15 mins.): A woman journeys through a series of surreal landscapes. At Land features some of Deren’s most striking visual effects. 

Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946, 15 mins.): A stunning exploration of movement and dance, exploring themes of transformation and transcendence. 

A Study in Choreography for the Camera (1945, 3 mins.): A study of the relationship between dance and film through innovative use of camera and sound to capture the essence of dancer Talley Beatty. 

Mark Alice Durant is an artist and writer living in Baltimore. He is author of Maya Deren: Choreographed for Camera, 27 Contexts: An Anecdotal History in Photography, and co-author of Blur of the Otherworldly: Contemporary Art, Technology, and the Paranormal. His essays have appeared in numerous journals such as Aperture, Art in America, Photograph Magazine, Dear Dave, and many catalogs, monographs, and anthologies including Rania Matar: She, Seeing Science: How Photography Reveals the Universe, and Vik Muniz Seeing is Believing. He has served on the faculties of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, UCLA, the University of New Mexico, Syracuse University, and the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. Currently he teaches in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Maryland. Durant is publisher/editor of Saint Lucy Books.


Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / free for MoMI members at the Senior/Student level and above. Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.