Expanded Essays

Technology's inevitable march forward has changed no less than the structure of thought. Accordingly, we've witnessed a rapid evolution in the art of the essay, through the integration of sound and images and the written word. Likewise, the content of the essay itself allows for free intermingling of the personal and the meditational; of the analytical and the poetic. When the nature of language shifts, it's the responsibility of the artist to find a clarity of vision. These pieces range from live cinema essays to illustrated lectures to text-based works, but all seek the elusive space between form and thought.

performance essay clip 1 -- performance essay clip 2 -- illustrated lecture -- list of lectures and publications


Personal Ethnographies

These works are neither avant garde cinema or traditional ethnography. I report on groups or environments of which I’m already a part. They include portraits and documents, landscapes and stories. They take the form of films, videos, photos, and recordings that tell something about a person or group of people: how they live and how they relate to each other. They’re at once removed and engaged, observing and participating, impersonal and extremely personal.

past program -- work sample


Secular Magic

Truth and fiction are outdated concepts; their outer polarity masking an inner unity. Contemporary post-Situationist society takes the illusion of social structure as the starting point in its navigation of psychological space. As accepted truths break apart, fictions coalesce into lived experience. Depending who you talk to, secular magic can be virtually anything, but I take it as the creation of a space between truth and fiction where the impossible is experientially encountered in our lives.

past program -- work sample 1 -- work sample 2


Ruin as Metaphor

Everything that’s built crumbles in time: buildings, cultures, fortunes, and lives. The detritus of civilization tells us no less about our current epoch than an archeological dig speaks to history. The urban ruin is particularly compelling because it tells of the recent past, and reminds us that our own lives and creations will also soon pass into dust. These film, video, and performance works explore decay in a myriad of forms—architectural, cultural, and personal.

past program 1 -- past program 2


Phantom Narratives

Tales of non-telling. These works subvert or ignore the boundaries of contemporary narrative, integrating storytelling and visual artworks in different permutations. Each has a deep investment in its story, while simultaneously transforming common notions of narrative form.

work sample 1 -- work sample 2 -- work sample 3


Cinema of Absence

Ross Lipman’s films and cinematic performances combine a technical mastery of diverse media with a rigorous sparse aesthetic to create sound/light environments that are at once ethereal and riveting. Looking back to classical notions of form and forward to new technology, these works utilize carefully controlled sensations of absence to point outwards to the fullness of lived experience. Spanning collage work in the 1980’s, narrative portraiture in the ‘90’s, and his current video and pictorial essays, Lipman’s oeuvre both utilizes and challenges conventional notions of the boundaries of cinematic art.