Women’s Studies Program Hosts “Poetics of Rememory” Film Screening and Artist Dialogue

On Wednesday, March 30 at 4:30 p.m., students and community members gathered in Golden Auditorium to watch a series of films by interdisciplinary artist paris cyan cian and participate in an artist dialogue. The event, entitled “Poetics of Rememory” is an installment of the Black Feminist Poetics and Performance Series funded by the Colgate Arts Council. The audience viewed films “The Shore,” “The Crossing” and “The Clearing,” before engaging in a discourse about repetition in choreography, Black girl creativity and spirituality. 

Following the film viewing, a panel of Colgate professors led a Q&A session about the topics of the films. The panel included Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Dominique C. Hill, Assistant Professor of Theater Amy Swanson and Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Yi Cui. They each posed questions to cian about her inspiration behind the films, and the intersection between dance and film. 

“My goal with creating these films is for you to watch them with your eyes closed and make up your own dance,” cian said. “I am trying to not name where [movement] is coming from because I’m not interested in specifying my work under any codified technique. I’d rather it be called embodiment, poetics, and have someone feel like they can go to their dorm room, create movement, and submit their work to any film festival or concert. That’s the play, creativity, and liberation of the practice.” 

The films showcased scenes of light contrasting with silhouettes. The works depicted movements in choreography, repetitive audio components and fractal imagery. The films initiated feelings of peace and encouraged viewers into a meditative state. 

“I was walking in a dream or walking in memory itself,” Cui said during the Q&A. “When we talk about memory we cannot avoid talking about time. Our time is the art form.”

cian’s goal was to explore how prayer leads people through their constantly changing lives, and how meditation allows people to explore the space they take up. She explored themes about uncertainty in the path of life, and the journey of discovering who she is.

“If you knew who you were going to be in five years, it wouldn’t be fun, it would be boring… The answers to the unknowns aren’t exciting, the questions are,” cian said. 

Audience and panel members marveled at the artistic talent cian shared. First-year attendee Alex Jones spoke to the experience of the films.

“When watching the film I felt like I was swept up in a dream,” Jones said. “There were a lot of emotions that were conveyed through the imagery, silence, and movement in the film as well as through color. After listening to paris and the rest of the panelists I felt refreshed and reassured that learning what you want to do is a process and you don’t always need to have everything figured out.”

cian also opened a conversation about Black girl creativity and blackness in her film. She talked about her own identity and how that shaped the choreography and imagery to frame her story. 

“In my works I am having conversations about Blackness, about cosmic Blackness/darkness but not naming it specifically – this has the possibility to reveal what you see or what you don’t see or what you choose not to see,” cian said. “You don’t need to identify me, you can view the shape and see the shape of who I am and that is always going to change.”

This event was sponsored by the Women’s Studies Department at Colgate, and was co-sponsored by Sio Diversity, the Film and Media Studies Program, University Studies, ALANA Cultural Center, Core Communities and Identities, Core 152 and Arts & Humanities. Information on upcoming events sponsored by the Women’s Studies Department can be found on the Colgate University activities calendar.