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Teen Spirits

To launch the fourth issue, Peculiar Forms, of Open City Documentary Festival’s Journal Non-fiction, artists and contributors, Morgan Quaintance and Diane Severin Nguyen, will join the editor of this issue, curator Aily Nash, for a screening and an extended conversation. Both artists will present new moving image works that speak to the formative years of teenage life as the burgeoning moment of artistic and political awakening. Radical and lasting inspirations, as well as aspirations for transcendental experiences, informed these artists and their notions of what is possible in both life and through aesthetics.

Issue 4: Peculiar Forms includes contributions by Peggy Ahwesh, Basma Alsharif, Payal Kapadia, Jean-Paul Kelly, James N. Kienitz Wilkins, Jumana Manna, Aily Nash, Diane Severin Nguyen, Joana Pimenta & Adirley Queirós, Morgan Quaintance, and Oraib Toukan.

Followed by drinks in the LUX garden to celebrate the launch of Non-Fiction #4 Peculiar Forms.



Non-Fiction is a journal from Open City Documentary Festival. The publication was launched in 2020 with the aim to create a space for considered, critical and creative writing on non-fiction, featuring contributions offered in response to moving image, audio or cross-media, both contemporary and historical. The first two issues were edited by Matt Turner and published in print form. In 2021, Non-Fiction moved online in order to be more widely accessible. We aim to publish two issues a year, each edited by a different guest editor. Non-Fiction #4 The Politics of Form is edited by Aily Nash.

Aily Nash is a curator and educator based in New York. She is a programmer at the New York Film Festival, serving on the selection committee for the Currents section, and is head of short films. She co-curated the Projections section of the festival from 2014–2019. She was a program advisor to the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s short film section from 2015-2022. She served as a Biennial advisor and co-curator of the film program for the 2017 Whitney Biennial and was head of programming for the 2018 Images Festival in Toronto. She has curated programs and exhibitions for MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Anthology Film Archives, SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries, REDCAT, Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Tabakalera Centre for Contemporary Culture, Doc’s Kingdom, FACT Liverpool, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Ghost:256, and others. She currently teaches at Bard College and Bard Prison Initiative.

Morgan Quaintance is a London-based artist and writer. His moving image work has been shown and exhibited widely at festivals and institutions including: MOMA, New York; McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco; Konsthall C, Sweden; David Dale, Glasgow; European Media Art Festival, Germany; Alchemy Film and Arts Festival, Scotland; Images Festival, Toronto; International Film Festival Rotterdam; and Third Horizon Film Festival, Miami. He is the recipient of the 2021 Best Documentary Short Film Award at Tacoma Film Festival, USA; the Explora Award at Curtocircuito International Film Festival, Santiago de Compostela; UK Short Film Award at Open City Documentary Film Festival, London, the Jean Vigo Prize for Best Director at Punto de Vista, Spain, and the 2021 Best Experimental Film Award at Curtas Vila do Conde, Portugal, all for the film Surviving You, Always (2021); the 2020 New Vision Award at CPH:DOX, Denmark and the 2020 Best Experimental Film award at Curtas Vila Do Conde, Portugal, both for the film South (2020).

Diane Severin Nguyen received her BA from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Nguyen works with found objects and organic matter to craft the images in her photographs and video works, transforming substances found in quotidian domestic spaces to evoke the body rendered unstable. Her materials are often plant-based, coagulating, metallic, and wet. She focuses on matter in states of transformation: the moment that is decisively caught—frozen—and describes intentionally capturing an in-betweenness that can be expressed as physical tension or irresolute states. She uses transient prosthetic lighting—the glow of sunset, an iPhone flash, battery-powered LEDs, fire—so that the camera intervenes moments before these temporary arrangements and their lighting change. The results are gut-wrenching, uncanny compositions: they evoke something unseeable, such as the “architecture of emotions,” but also very real bodily functions.

“Screening and conversation with Morgan Quaintance and Diane Severin Nguyen”