This weekend, Anthology Film Archives shows three shorts programs by Stephanie Gray, a poet and Super 8 filmmaker (and former AFA publicist). In certain hands, Super 8 is a format that looks like the concrete aesthetic equivalent of the ephemerality of memory: its handheld wobbliness and volatile surface textures of Super 8 create the impression of a conditional subject, open to layers of misremembering and unexpected connections.
Gray’s films continue in that tradition. In black and white and color Super 8, close-ups of buildings, or of balloons in trees, come in and out of focus, and the sun shines into the lens. Gray frequently focuses on the marginal aspects of NYC (a teddy bear trapped in a chain-link fence, rundown old buildings), and gentrification is very much her explicit subject: some of her films focus on neighborhoods institutions going out of business.
Most of the films are silent, though some have a voiceover track; at Anthology this weekend, there will be live musical performances by some of Gray’s collaborators to go along with some of the films, and live readings of poetic texts over others. Gray answered a few of my questions over email.