Janie Geiser

Janie Geiser is an internationally recognized visual/performance artist and experimental filmmaker, 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'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 Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the and the 2013 Sharjah Biennial. 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 work screen at major festivals, including 9 New York Film Festivals, the Toronto Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, London International Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Viennale, and the San Francisco Film Festival. Her film The Red Book was selected for the 2009 National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, and her film The Fourth Watch was selected by Film Comment as one of the top ten experimental film of the last decade. Her recent Los Angeles exhibit at China Art Objects, Object Permanence, featured films and stills for films.  

Geiser is also 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 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, and other venues. Her recent multidisciplinary performance Clouded Sulphur was presented for 8 sold out performances, as part of the RADAR LA 2013 Festival.  

Geiser has received funding from Creative Capitol, MapFund, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, and other foundations. She is the recipient of the 2011 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists.   In her films, performances, and visual art, "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." (Bernice Reynaud, co-curator, Film at Redcat)  

Geiser is a member the faculty of the CalArts School of Theater, where she teaches performing object theater and interdisciplinary performance practices. She 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.

[bio courtesy of the filmmaker]



Recent Reviews


5 of 5 Stars. Excellent. Love the interplay between the simple geometric lines and the textural photographic imagery. Subtly eerie yet somehow peaceful. Thought provoking... Makes me want to get...

The Red Book

Very eye-catching! I felt like I was immersed into a dream.

The Fourth Watch

I loved the collage of digital textures in blue and the color of the scenarios. The shadows and the rhythm, all ad hoc to the concept. Great experimental film.

The Fourth Watch

talk about hypotic! whew! hahhah. i love these textures. by the end i was wishing for more of a narrative so that the second half could be viewed even more...

Terrace 49

AAAAhhh what a comforting reminder that low rez can still be as mesmerizing and rich as this. After hours and hours of scanning high rez stuff to animate with, this...