Conversations at the Edge

The Presentation Theme: New & Old Films by Jim Trainor

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 6pm | Jim Trainor in person!

Jim Trainor, The Presentation Theme (2008). Image courtesy of the artist.
Jim Trainor, The Presentation Theme (2008). Image courtesy of the artist.

The work of celebrated Chicago filmmaker and SAIC professor Jim Trainor revels in the world between playfulness and prurience with shaky, line-drawn animations of animals, humans, and their habits. Tonight he presents two new films alongside some favorites and obscurities. Premiering are The Presentation Theme (2008), the story of a Peruvian POW outmaneuvered by a hematophagous priestess, and The Little Garden of Herbert S. Zim (2008), in which a school library’s science section comes creakily to life. Also featured: zoo denizens fail to strike a healthy balance between impulse and rationality in The Animals and Their Limitations (1998–2004), a naturalist shares his prizes with visiting scholars in The Skulls, and the Skulls and the Bones, and the Bones (2003), and a novice bicyclist pedals without incident in Serene Velocity (2004). 1998—2008, Jim Trainor, USA, multiple formats, ca 80 min.

Jim Trainor has been making animated films since he was thirteen. In that time his medium has changed little – his preferred technique is black magic marker on typing paper. He grew up in Washington DC, and lived in New York City in his 20s and 30s. The Fetishist (1997), a portrait of a serial killer, took him eleven years to make and is highly unpleasant, though perhaps not in the way you might expect. A series of films about animals - The Bats, The MoschopsThe Magic Kingdom and Harmony – followed, and have been widely screened, sometimes under the collective title The Animals and Their Limitations. The third-mentioned was in the 2004 Whitney Biennial in New York. In 2000 Mr. Trainor got a teaching job at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now lodged happily. Beyond filmmaking, his passions include looking closely at birds and insects and reading forgotten anthropology books of the 1920s.

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The Chicago Reader: Jim Trainor (Fred Camper)

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