PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: Figments of our imaginations are the subjects of these five films, where each film asks who, what, or how we can trust.

William digests feelings of personal loss through dreams of a different reality, inspired and buoyed by the weightlessness of travel, while Martina intimately questions whether the realities we "see" are in fact dreams akin to ocular floaters. 

An explosion of variegated floaters flutter down phantasmic pipes in Pepi's film, where shapes holographically appear as insides and outsides, and symbols and creatures, at once. Next, magical chimes transport us into Herry's digital dystopia, where we are further disoriented as to what is up and down, and real and not yet real, in our data-driven existence.

While data predict our futures in Herry's film, a sculptural fish outside a psychic shop in Los Angeles portends the future in Ruoyi's, where the historical significance of fish to Chinese people's liberation prompts her to see herself in and through her finned kin.

Total run time: 25:42 mins

Image: Herry Kim, Regression (film still)



William Orellana

(Film Directing MFA '12)


A man reflects on wanting to run away to another country after learning that the woman he loves recently got married.




Martina Mattar

(Film/Video BFA '22)


Contours of light take form amidst the darkness – areas where the camera can’t register any information, places where nothing exists. How does “nothing” look like? The camera invents the answer and shows us its own version of non-existence. Along with the image, four other voices tell us stories of when they were confronted by the absence of light and, just like the camera, delineate their subjective contours of non-existence.




Pepi Eirew

(Exp. Animation BFA '23)


Rippleslick is a long, wandering pan down a tunnel of squiggly chaos. (The tinkling musical accompaniment is from




Herry Kim

(Art MFA '22)


In Regression, I explore the sense of detachment and confusion caused and accelerated by pattern recognition/pattern generation technology. It is a surreal and speculative science fiction that reveals colliding emotions through a metaphorical social structure. (Music composed by Brian James Griffith, Experimental Sound Practices MFA '21.)




Ruoyi Shi

(Art MFA '21)


In human oral languages, fish might not refer to terrestrial animals. However, Tetrapods emerged within lobe-finned fishes, so cladistically, humans and dinosaurs are fish as well.


I first read about the Dazexiang Uprising in middle school. Known as the first peasant revolts in Chinese history, it has been included as a required reading since 1960. It was deleted from the textbook in 2019, the same year as the Hong Kong protest raised public attention.


The leaders borrowed the power from the fish and made up a prophecy. Somehow the human-made words became a revelation after traveling through the fish's stomach. The fictitious belief contributed and led the uprising to a temporary victory. 


I have many questions for that fish —


Did it perceive the man who cut it open and inserted the letter as the same species as itself? Did it feel amused when seeing the truth being manipulated and human being deceived? Words or messages were never part of a fish's diet.  Did it even understand the language it once carried in its belly?


There was a little pink psychic shop on the Commonwealth Avenue, a fish worked there, until I stole it home.