The Motive Power Series is comprised of four films, each confined to a single street address, each a meditation on one of the thermodynamic laws. Viewed together, the films become chapters in an extended rumination on the metaphors embedded in the laws, or those that gave rise to the laws in the first place. Gibisser has described the series as “movies made of still images,” where focus held on details like two clocks with second hands just out of synch, or a curtained window frame conveys inquiry into both the properties of the physcial laws and the image properties of 16mm film. Formally these films are as much about sound as they are about image, from the Third Law chapter’s acute manipulation of the sound of cicadas, to the playful use of a film clapboard in the final chapter for the Zeroeth law. Parts historical essay, parts personal documentary, and parts lyrical expression, the films put pressure on the points where spiritualism bleeds into science, and affect invades empiricism.
Sections of The Motive Power Series have screened at the New York Film Festival and the Chicago Underground Film Festival, where Gibisser received Honorable Mention for the Second Law Film. This is the first public showing of the entire series in Chicago.
The films have a combined duration of 50 minutes, and will be screening at the gallery on the hour from 11am to 4pm daily.
Mike Gibisser (b. 1981) lives and makes films in Chicago largely about people who don’t. His films navigate the indefinite lines between essay, experimental, and documentary work, often drawing together disparate subjects or time periods. He received his MFA in Moving Image from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011, and an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute in 2009.