Alexander Stewart’s String Beams, a 16mm film made using lasers, draws influence from the history of cat’s cradle string figures and from the “solid light” work of filmmaker Anthony McCall. This is Alexander’s first cinema performance work, continuing the investigations of abstraction, psychedelic cinema, and minimalism of his past films and drawings.
At High Concept Labs, Alexander will be developing material for a collaboration with sound artists Shawn Decker and Mark Booth, who perform together as Grykes. The film of “drawings” will be made in darkened spaces with laser beams and mirrors, and premiered in an expanded-cinema performance with live improvised score by Grykes.
Sponsorship by hcl will allow Alexander to create his drawings and film in hcl’s studios, collaborate with Grykes, document the process of creating intricate work with lasers, and present the first cinema performance of String Beams.
Alexander’s film and drawing work involves the gradual accumulation of marks and movements, with self-imposed challenges and limitations, along with the legacies of structural film and psychedelic cinema.
His short films have been screened in festivals internationally, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the ImageForum festival in Japan. In 2014, Alexander worked with Bonobostudio in Zagreb, Croatia to create an experimental animation exploring abstraction as a visual and cognitive process. This spring, he will be presenting a program of Croatian avant-garde cinema and animation he curated as part of SAIC’s Conversations at the Edge series. He is also the co-founder of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, an annual festival he directs with Lilli Carré. He teaches animation at DePaul University.