Introspective Vision: The Works of Sami van Ingen (In Person)

A co-presentation with Pleasure Dome as part of our New Directions in Cinema Series


A co-presentation with Pleasure Dome as part of our New Directions in Cinema Series


It is a great pleasure to welcome Sami van Ingen back to Toronto for a retrospective of his recent films during his artist residency at LIFT. Despite living in Finland, Sami van Ingen has deep roots in the Canadian film community. His artistic friendship with Phil Hoffman began in the late eighties and has been a key to both of their filmmaking practices, culminating in the collaborative 1995 film Sweep. van Ingen’s work has been influenced both by documentary and experimental traditions (his great-grandfather was Robert Flaherty) and by his own observations of culture exchange as coloured by his childhood growing up in both India and Finland. The roots of perception and the possibilities of the film camera in creating and investigating vision are at the core of his work.


van Ingen’s residency at LIFT will find him exploring new ways to merge digital practices with attentive work in 16mm and 35mm. Our screening will feature a small selection of works-in-progress as well as three completed films that represent the range of his work in film. Twone is a short series of 35mm trailers that uses a poem by Dr. Seuss to examine how children learn visual recognition. Texas Scramble relates a structuring mechanism from a golf game with a quote from the Dhammapada to create an editing pattern that ruminates on how our experience in the world depends on our position in it — a visual hop-frog equivalent of “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday/our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow/our life is the creation of our mind”.

The centrepiece of the screening is van Ingen’s masterful Fokus, a study of the intricate patterns of ritual and vision. van Ingen uses his grandmother’s 16mm home movie of the royal Indian court procession of Dussera in Mysore, India as source material for this stunning 35mm film. Deftly optically printing brief passages of her film, van Ingen carefully examines the elements of the frame that are often just peripheral. Through changing speeds, direction and amplification, the film becomes a cyclical study of gesture, finding new revelations with each sweep of his focus. The enlarged textures and colours of the Kodachrome film and the enveloping soundtrack make this an immersive study of the intricacies of film’s inherent beauty.


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FOKUS (2004 35 mm 1.85:1 Dolby Digital 40 minutes)

“The 512 original frames that where the starting point for Fokus are from my grandmothers homemovie from the 1950’s. By deconstructing and re-constructing these scenes, my aim was to enhance meanings that are already present in the original material, but easily escape the spectator’s attention. The relationships between the picture taker and the subjects, the different people within the shot and, with the aid of rigorous optical printing, the relationship between us, the spectators and the cinematic process itself that we are presented with. The event my grandmother filmed, the South Indian Dusera festival, was set up by the Brittish rulers of India to keep their puppet ruler, the Maharaja of Mysore in power after the battle over Tippoo. So the aspects of power, display and representation are present in all levels of Fokus”.
– Sami van Ingen


TWONE (film 3 x 35 mm dolby stereo 32 seconds each 1994)

Twone is a series of cinema trailers based on a poem. It explores the relationship between audiovisual information and recognition.

one fish
two fish
red fish
blue fish

The starting point was a poem written by dr. seuss in a childrens poem-book and an enquiry to the means of visual communication. To be screened with-in other trailers, before a commercial cinema film. There is three separate movies and posters is the package.

sound by Mikko Maasalo


TEXAS SCRAMBLE (16 mm com-opt / betacam sp 21 min 1996)

Texas Scramble is based on the notion of memory as the basis for our perception, it progresses through situations and moments consisting of repetitions of varying type. Rejecting outside narrative and letting chance associations form the path.

” -what we are today comes from our thoughts
of yesterday,
and our present thoughts build our life of
our life is the creation of our mind-”

“texas scramble is a type of game in golf where every
new round starts from the best individual situation”
– vivien saunders-

sound by petri kuljuntausta / producer jouko aaltonen/ illume Inc




Friday 25 November 2005 –

Non-members: 5
Members: 2 Pleasure Dome

129 Spadina Avenue (down the alley) 
Toronto ON Canada