A feeler gauge looks and works like a Swiss Army knife, with each steel finger or blade precisely machined to a very small thickness. The tool is used to measure the size of gaps between engine parts (and other things), and some of the fingers are so thin that several of them can be sandwiched together and fit between parts that appear or are designed to be flush (like a table and its legs or a window and its frame). Many of these in-between worlds or portals imperceptibly surround us.
While upending "normal" through protests and other necessary massive action has been called for in the past year, we would like to also uplift through this festival the subtle, liminal, interstitial, inarticulable, and deeply (often invisibly) personal or singular, as we believe that attending to those dimensions and textures can anchor and generate the kind of presence, awareness and imagination we need to sustainably become the change we wish to see. A sharp-edged tool that can literally cut both ways, a feeler gauge can provide metaphorical frameworks or language for critique, as well as for affirmation.
The 32 CalArts filmmakers and their films here reflect the 32 singular fingers of a feeler gauge, each marking a distinctly personal, experimental pulse that functions indispensably with a collective set. They represent BFA and MFA students and alumnx from across the Institute (Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater), and we thank them for sharing their curiosities, anxieties, joys, knowledges, honesty and hearts with us!
We especially thank Rachel Handlin for mentioning a feeler gauge in her film! As she notes she is one of an unjustly small number of people with Down syndrome to complete a college degree, she embodies the sliver referenced by (a fraction of) the thinnest feeler gauge.
Opens April 5, 2021.
All films open or closed captioned (to the best of filmmakers' abilities).
Catalog book to be contributed to CalArts library and LA Contemporary Archive.
Video / Image: Jennie Park, Flight of the Feeler Gauge (excerpt without sound) / 32 composited feeler gauge cyanotypes
Christian V. Mejia
Joana P. Cardozo
Lydia Marie Hicks
Fabian Vasquez Euresti
Razan Al Sarraf