In PASSAGES, the heart of the conflict is the philosopher King of the Gods, Sum’o’s, desire to experience giving birth like a human in his quest for transcendence.. His youngest sister, Sum’a the Enforcer hates humans because they have developed spoken language; one day during a confrontation, she accidentally kills a human. Sum’o’s older sister, Sum’i the Arbiter, is interested only in maintaining balance through observance of the laws, traditions and principles handed down by their ancestors.
“Night” is the identity chosen by The First One, who comes into existence out of the void of light and immediately hates being alive. This video exploring her character and developing her subtext is my second experiment showing her struggle to escape existence into a black hole. CREATION is a mythology based on Mbombo, the creator god in the religion and mythology of the Kuba of Central Africa, who created the world by vomiting various parts of it. I am in the pre-production phase of CREATION, composing a live action storyboard through a process of creating and uploading pre-production worldbuilding, story and character development videos. CREATION is shot splitscreen and chromakeyed; and montaged with shots from the natural world. There is no dialogue (vocalization and singing are improvised) and the movie will be subtitled and or intertitled as necessary. The sound of the world of the story will be gathered as much as possible from the characters’ movements and mixed with found sounds to enhance the ambience.
SEQUENCE 13 combines animation and live action an experimental, greenscreen art film inspired by the Central African creator god, Mbombo, who created the world by vomiting it. There is no dialogue. The soundtrack is original, minimalist music. The characters in SEQUENCE 13 are The Second One, a creator god who begins vomiting all the parts of the Universe, and one of his/her hatchlings. This is my first movie in which animation is a dominating component.
A goddess disagrees with her sisters about The Humans and is put on trial for treason.
The Cape Experiments by Sylvia Toy are performance art events improvised by a large, greenscreenable cape, the environment, my husband, Michael Lewis, directing behind a handheld camera, and myself. These scenes were shot in Cold Creek, Nevada USA, which is located in the Toyabe National Forest near Mt. Charleston.
TITLE: Lucy, the First Human by Sylvia Toy (remastered in 2017)
SPECS: 23:44 minutes, 16:9, H.264, AAC, Color/Stereo, Silent/No captioning
COUNTRY: United States
On Tuesday November 24, 2015, the 51st anniversary of Donald Johanson’s discovery of Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”) at the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia, my ‘Lucy, the First Human’ trailers on YouTube got a total of five hours of airtime. That means my Lucy came up in searches and someone probably shared her. That is a real thrill.
LUCY, THE FIRST HUMAN is video art/microcinema crossing genre into nonlinear science fiction fantasy. The subject matter is paleoanthropological. The setting is a barren, shadowy, womb-like or cave-like environment. There is only one character in the movie. She is based on the hominid, Australopithecus afarensis.
This movie is composed of a series of improvisations of what the first human would do, think, feel, and how it would develop. The solitary female character is like an infant, mostly sleeping in the beginning. In her waking hours, her primary interest is herself until things begin to suddenly and surrealistically appear in her “cave.” She gradually is drawn out of her self-absorption into the real world.
Year of creation: 2008
Psychotic Artifacts. Exhibited in The Revolution Will Be Televised, Altered Esthetics Gallery, Minneapolis, MN, 2008.
Year of creation: 2010
Depression As Geography. Exhibited in ‘CologneOff VII, Marrakech and Turkestan, 2011.
Year of creation: 2011
Indigo Lady. Selected for L.A. Neo Noir Film Festival, Femmes Fatales Grand Jury Award, 2016.
Indigo Lady pre-production videos. Exhibited at Galerie Chartier, West Haven, CT, 2013; KAPAS Film Festival, Spain, 2012.
Runnn. Exhibited on Skye Arte TV, Italy, 2013-2014.
Traveling To. Exhibited in STREETVIDEO Art on the streets of Paris and at Larcade Gallery, Paris October 2012, March 2013.
TYFTB (thank you from the bottom), (remastered and re-released 2017). Pre-production video screened at Galerie Chartier, West Haven CT, 2013.
Year of creation: 2013
Lucy, the First Human (remastered and re-released in 2017). Featured in The Unstitute Projection Room, November – December 2017.
running out. Exhibited in Pineapple Underground Film Festival, Hong Kong, 2014.
VOICE Pre-production videos. 2013-2016. Exhibited in International Video Art Exchange Program, Marrakech (2016) and in the Chemcraft Exhibit, CM Projects, London (2015).
Year of creation: 2014
before chill. Selected for Creative Arts Film Festival and awarded Honorable Mention for Best Cinematography, Online festival, 2016.
Queen. Exhibited in “Clash,” Siger Art Gallery, London, November 2017.
Year of creation: 2014
The Sound of Being. Toured internationally in Magmart F.I.V.E., 2014-2015. Exhibited in CCIFabrika “Now&After17,” Moscow, RU, 2017.
Year of creation: 2015
The Blue Lady by Sylvia Toy. Exhibited in 1974-1978 UNL Alumni Exhibition, Eisentrager-Howard Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE, 2016.
Passages, a Myth. Excerpt, PASSAGES, A MYTH | DISCOVERY OF THE PREGNANCY OF THE KING, exhibited in Festival Miden, Kalamata, Greece, 2016 and at Visual Container, Milan, IT 2017.
KILLER JANE Pre-production videos. 2015-2017. Selected for L.A. Neo Noir Film Festival and awarded a Femmes Fatales Grand Jury Award, 2016.
Year of creation: 2016
THE HARPY by Sylvia Toy. Selected for Bucharest ShortCut CineFest, September, 2016.
VOICE, a performance art movie. Selected for Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, 2017. Awarded Honorable Mention laurels by Los Angeles Underground Film Forum, 2016. Awarded Honorable Mention laurels by Experimental Film Forum, 2017.
VOICE Festival Cutting 2. Exhibited at VisualContainer TV (2016 and 2017) and toured in HearteartH to Barcelona, Berlin, Milan (2016).
VOICE Festival Cutting 3. Exhibited in Underground FilmFest, Munich, Germany, July 2017. Exhibited in Black Underground Film Fest, Rancho Cucamonga, California, October 2017.
Year of creation: 2017
THE HARPY Tribunal. Exhibited on Art Web Gallery, La Spezia, IT, online June-July 2017.
KILLER JANE by Sylvia Toy. Exhibited at Klanghaus, Oakland CA, May 2017. Selected for Chicago Amarcord Arthouse Film Awards, November 2017.
AND SO I SAID. Exhibited in Burnt Experimental Video Art and Film Festival, Montreal, December 2017.
For about a minute (3 years, actually, I think), I had a fiscal sponsor so that I would be eligible to apply for grants as an artist. I think I applied for three grants in the first six months of my sponsorship. I did not get even a nibble of interest in my proposals, which I expected to happen, having been competing for exhibitions, gigs and cash as an artist for most of my adult life and thus knowing rejection is part of the artist’s life.
I suppose I could say that I gave up, even though I maintained the sponsorship just in case while feverishly creating work that I spend (not that much cash outlay on, really) most of my waking hours making, somebody else magically appeared and offered me a grant that I needed a fiscal sponsor to administer.
But I could also say that since I’ve mostly paid for my own work and dealt directly as an independent artist with art dealers, collectors, theater producers, casting directors, video art curators and film festival administrators, that nobody is my boss except me and I am not beholden to anyone except my husband who is periodically inconvenienced by stage sets all over the apartment.
Anybody who puts their work “out there” is participating in the System no matter how much they might rail against it – as I will never stop pointing out that art dealers, curators and producers would not have anything to do if artists stopped making art or just didn’t play with art dealers, curators and producers anymore.
Independent artists, even ferociously independent artists like me – who would rather fail and or be repeatedly rejected than take commissions, fill out forms and reports, create and justify budgets, follow protocols that exist primarily because of bylaws nobody’s ever read since the person who wrote them, and commingle with patrons – are just as much part of the System as those folks who get all the grants.
The System is anybody considering your work at all for any reason and to any end.