Faculty/Staff Directory

Janie Geiser

Theater Faculty, Puppetry


Phone: 661.222.2738

Room: E312

Janie Geiser is an internationally recognized experimental filmmaker and visual/theater artist, whose work is known for its recontextualization of abandoned objects, its embrace of artifice, and its sublime use of controlled superimposition. A Guggenheim fellow, "Geiser gives voice to the reaches of the unconscious, pointing to the abandoned splendor that exists prior to the rules of society and language." (—Holly Willis, Res, 2004).

Geiser is an Obie Award-winning director, and a pioneer in the renaissance of American experimental puppet theater. She creates innovative, hypnotic works that integrate puppets and performing objects with live performers and film. Her performances have been presented at numerous venues including RADAR LA 2013, St. Ann’s Warehouse, REDCAT, MOCA, The Public Theater, The Walker Arts Center, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, The Santa Monica Museum of Art, The Velaslavasay Panorama, Arts at St. Ann’s, PS 122, Automata, and other venues.

Geiser’s films and videos are "as extravagantly beautiful as they are difficult, and as allusive as they are elusive" (—Cinemascope). Her films have been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, SFMOMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the 2013 Sharjah Bienniel. Her films have been the subject of numerous one-person screenings, most notably at the Museum of Modern Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Wexner Center for the Arts, REDCAT, and the San Francisco Cinematheque. Her films frequently screen at major festivals, including 8 New York Film Festivals, the Toronto Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, London International Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Vienna Viennale, Oberhausen Film Festival, and the San Francisco Film Festival. Her film The Red Book was selected for the 2009 National Film Registry for preservation in the Library of Congress, and her film The Fourth Watch was selected by Film Comment as one of the top ten experimental films of the last decade. Geiser’s artist book The Tornado Treaty is in the Artists Book Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and three of her 16mm films are in MOMA’s permanent film collection.

Geiser is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including a 2012 Mapfund Grant, a 2011 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists. She has received funding from Creative Capitol, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, Henson Foundation, and other foundations. Her new multidisciplinary performance Clouded Sulphur recently completed a sold-out run at Automata in Los Angeles, as part of the RADAR LA 2013 Festival.

In her films, performances, and installations, "Geiser brings collage to a new level, as a space traversed by cut-out silhouettes, purloined drawings and fragments of black-and-white films. The image trembles, is cropped, elusive, a forbidden sight snatched from darkness; the spectator is invited to trek though the suggested layers of meaning as through the intricate foliage of an enchanted forest." (—Berenice Reynaud, film scholar and curator of Film at REDCAT)

Geiser is also Co-Artistic Director of Automata, an artist-run Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to object performance, puppetry, experimental film, pre-cinema, and other lost or neglected art forms.

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