Author Archives: Lynne Sachs

About Lynne Sachs

Lynne Sachs
Co-director: Abecedarium NYC
Director: Elutriate, Foudroyant, Georgic, Lapidary, Selenography, Umbel, Xenogenisis, Yashmak
Segment Director: Audile, Bibliomancy, Culminant, Diglot
Videographer: Kermis, Nosogeography

Lynne Sachs' films, videos, installations and web projects explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Since 1994, her five essay films have taken her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel and Germany -- sites affected by international war -- where she tries to work in the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, Lynne searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with each and every new project. Supported by fellowships from the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations and the New York State Council on the Arts, Lynne’s films have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Pacific Film Archive, the Sundance Film Festival and recently in a mini-retrospective at the Buenos Aires Film Festival. She teaches experimental film and video at New York University and lives in Brooklyn with filmmaker Mark Street. www.lynnesachs.com

The RETE of modern day internet commerce

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Manhattan, Rete
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As a filmmaker, I feel the connection between my purchase of a camera at B and H Photo and Video in NYC and the people who work in the warehouse to get that package to me so quickly.  The time between their boxing the camera and my front door is so incredibly short these days.  I am painfully aware of the RETE of commerce in the world.  So this video speaks to that phenomenon.  Since the launch of this video, the workers won! They are now able to unionize.

B&H Warehouse Workers Protest on October 11th, 2015 with the support of Laundry Workers Center United, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and Rabbi Ellen Lippmann.  Video by Lynne Sachs.

According to Democracy Now, “more than 100 warehouse workers have launched a campaign Sunday to unionize B&H Photo Video, the largest non-chain photo store in the United States. The workers are alleging widespread racial discrimination, wage theft and unsafe working conditions inside B&H’s two Brooklyn warehouses. In one case, workers say they were locked inside one of the warehouses during a recent fire in an adjacent building.”

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It’s not what you see but how it is framed

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Manhattan, Rete

Rete Windows at Metropolitan

A good building helps us see beyond its walls.  These windows at the Metropolitan Museum create a spectacular RETE that welcomes the snow outside.

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Ai Wei Wei JERRYBUILDS in Brooklyn

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Brooklyn, Jerry-Build

Jerrybuild Lynne Sachs Hanging with Ai Wei Wei

Hanging out with Ai Wei Wei at the Brooklyn Museum.   It takes a certain artistic brilliance to know how to JERRYBUILD a hanger, transforming it from a sartorial tool to a work of sculptural insight.

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A peaceful Merz Atak by the Gowanus Canal is destroyed

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Brooklyn, Open City

Open City Kurt Schwitters Merz Attak Lynne Sachs

In an OPEN CITY , would we wage a Kurt Schwitters style attack on all things militaristic? I found this Dada celebration in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn in the summer and now it is long gone, making way for sky high apartment buildings.  Perhaps they will create their own OPEN CITY of peace.  (OPEN City – In war, a city that has abandoned all defensive efforts.)

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An Audile listens to a mysterious NYC bird

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Audile, Brooklyn
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I’ve been listening to this multi-song bird every night over the summer here in Brooklyn.  I have never seen it, but it perches in the top of a spruce tree in the front yeard by the street each evening. I recorded its lovely, dynamic song and now would like to find out if it is indeed a MOCKINGBIRD.

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Elutriate: In Celebration of All things Washable

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Brooklyn, Elutriate
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EVERY FOLD MATTERS
a performance that explores the personal, often hidden experience of doing laundry among the washers, dryers and folding tables of a working laundromat

by Lizzie Olesker and Lynne Sachs with Rosemary Fine and Veraalba Santa

Saturday, May 17, 2014
Atlantis Laundromat. 472 Atlantic Avenue , Brooklyn

EVERY FOLD MATTERS is half-hour work-in-process reading and movement piece.  Our performance explores the personal and social experience of doing laundry.  Two performers played by Veraalba Santa and Rosemary Fine weave together improvisation, written text, and movement within the inspiring environs of the soon-to-be-demolished Atlantis Laudromat.

Presented as part of the Brooklyn Lit Crawl http://litcrawl.org/nyc/brooklyn-may-17-2014/
Produced by Emily Rubin and Dirty Laundry: Loads of Prose and supported by the Brooklyn Arts Council

More info at: http://www.dirtylaundryreadings.com/html/volume31.html

This event is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

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Upon the discovery of the word Bibliomancy

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Bibliomancy, Brooklyn
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By choosing the word bibliomancy, I have forced myself to think long and hard about the investment we as humans have in the written word. Twenty years ago, I made a filmed entitled “Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning”, so I guess I’ve been fascinated with the power of the thing for a long time. With bibliomancy, the thing is the book and the book, in most cases, is holy. But, for those of us secular folks, committed to the magic and the mystery of telecommunications, the holy book has become the telephone book. It offers us access to the identities and locations of millions of other people – people we might marry, people we might meet on a bus, people who are rich, people who are brilliant, people who are almost destitute, people who are no longer people but whose names still remain in the book. Faith in the book implies a belief in its ability to lead us to divine awareness, maybe even to see into the future. The shooting of a film for this word takes us to a basement where we I photograph the flipping of a Manhattan telephone book while my daughters fan a feint breath across the pages. Later through Flash animation, a hundred names will tumble from the page.  (Lynne Sachs)

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A Georgic for a Forgotten Planet

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Brooklyn, Georgic, Places, Words
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This is my film “Georgic for a Forgotten Planet”

I first came upon the word georgic on a cold, winter evening in a cabin at the McDowell Colony in rural New Hampshire. I’d decided to spend two weeks there reading the dictionary in preparation for creating Abecedarium:NYC.  It wasn’t until months later that my dear friend Michele Lowrie, a Latin Classicist, informed me that the word referred to one of the greatest agricultural works of literature ever written, the 2000 year old epic poem by Virgil simply called The Georgics I – V.  Reading it was utterly transportive, like arriving hungry to a field in anticipation of a bountiful harvest. (L. Sachs)

Virgil’s Georgic

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Yashmak: Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Brooklyn, Places, Words, Yashmak
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From Lynne’s 2007 diary … This has definitely been a very difficult word to explore. While we are committed to using the Y version of this word yashmak for a face-covering veil, the more common words are niqab or burka. It’s a religious concept really, one that takes the sartorial gesture — much life the turban, the yarmulke, or the habit — to its most spiritual dimension. And yet, the political atmosphere of the day has transformed this simple expression of devotion into a highly charged issue of global magnitude. Post September 11, for a woman to wear a full face veil in an American city is a fearless act.

I make a date to go to a Yemenite video store to talk with a young, very hip woman in traditional Muslim dress who knows an immense amount about music and movies. We film together for an entire afternoon as I interview her about wearing a veil in New York and the challenges of being different on the street. It’s a wonderful conversation, and I feel great about the material. But, as I am heading out the door, she whispers, “Please don’t put my face on the internet.” Drat. Double drat. More work.

A few days later, I walk with my daughters from shop to shop along Atlantic Avenue’s famous block between 3rd and 4th Avenues, stopping into the mosque, various essential oil stores and then finally to a Halal butcher. When I ask if they know where I can find a shop that sells a yashmak, I am sent up the hidden stairway behind the cash register. Here? Really, here? I wonder. In a windowless room I never could have imagined before, I am allowed to run my fingers through one yashmak after another, as I listen to the friendly, hijab-dressed saleswoman explain the various forms of dress and their nuanced meanings. For the next several days, I return to the shop with my camera and am told a whole range of stories about why she is not there. On the third day, one of the butchers announces that she no longer works in the dress shop upstairs and that the owner, who was scheduled to meet me that day at 5 PM, is in Egypt.

In a case like this, I have now learned, it is never a good idea to call first. Just appear and start talking about your project and hopefully someone with power will become intrigued. At long last, I find an Islamic dress shop where I am allowed to film and ask a few questions. I speak French to the Moroccan saleswomen. They are, for the most part, quite shy about being on camera, but they are proud of their fabulous inventory and happy to allow me to photograph. I am still wondering whether a full-face veil is a symbol of oppression or liberation from the onus of making oneself beautiful in front of a far too critical public eye. When I look up the definition for the NIQAB or yashmak, I discover, for the first time, a definition on Wikipedia.com in which THE NEUTRALITY OF THIS ARTICLE IS DISPUTED.

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Umbel: Brooklyn Botanical Garden

BY Lynne Sachs | FILED UNDER Brooklyn, Umbel
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Reading the dictionary. Everyone wants to do this one day, don’t they? Like the Bible, or James Joyce’s Ulysseus, isn’t this task something we all will get around to accomplishing eventually in our lives? It’s been my role in this project to find words that resonate, surprise, and provoke the imagination. From the seemingly obscure and irrelevant to the profound and surprisingly forgotten, I have chosen words that send the imagination spinning. Umbel is probably our most botanical word, one that at first did not jump out at me, as it seemed so plant-specific, removed from any other realm of daily existence. But, simply put, I adored the sound of the word. Umbel. Umbel. Umbel. It just plain feels good on the tongue to say. Newly educated, I began to see umbrella-shaped flora all over town! Upon a bit deeper level of research, I discovered this is also the root word for umbrella? and so a lovely visual poem came to mind. I found a thriving carrot (yes, an umbel) plant one sunny day in the vegetable section of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and then patiently awaited a rainstorm in downtown Brooklyn. The sky and the earth below determined the direction and timing of my production.




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