The puzzle is a self-contained thing: an island of logic. The Puzzle and the World extends the mechanism of the puzzle to the world at large, in order to explore the power of naming, narrative, and its ability to erect a reality. When is this deduction useful, futile, humorous or harmful? The character of the camera in pursuit, the person performing bafflement, the conspiracy theorists, the diagnosing doctor, and a melancholic policeman bring us to the series end.
João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, Dream of a Ray Fish, 2011, 3 min, 16mm
Mike Henderson, The Shape of Things, 1981, 7 min, 16mm
Ana Vaz, Há Terra!, 2016, 12.5 min, digital
Leslie Thornton, Strange Space, 1993, 4 min, digital
James N Kienitz Wilkins, Tester, 2015, 30 min, digital – in person
Jennet Thomas, Return of the Black Tower (After John Smith), 2007, 15 min, digital
Stephen Sutcliffe, A Policeman Is Walking, 2009, 1 min, digital
Flaherty NYC’s PUZZLING: About the Series
A puzzle is something puzzling– it expects deduction and solution, while at the same time describes a condition of open confusion. The six-part series “Puzzling” considers these concurrent modes to explore different registers of knowing, the generative possibilities of uncertainty, and the film form as a choreography of sense and stimuli. How can a puzzle, as a challenge and as a structure, destabilize or shape the world? How are the boundaries of sense and non-sense policed? Human and non-human test subjects, compromised figures of authority, and metaphysical detectives populate the series, alongside inquiries on communication, abstraction, and agency.