For Ashes, Tom Kalin photographed thousands of high resolution still images and "stitched" them into a moving image. While borrowing library books for research on another project, Kalin discovered, glued to the endpapers, ordinary "due date" ledgers stamped with dates spanning three decades. Inspired by these tiny ledgers—like skin or palimpsests that recorded an analogue history, an accumulation of many gestures—Kalin combines quotidian pictures snatched from his daily life with an evocative musical track by ongoing collaborator Doveman (Thomas Bartlett). The film layers dates and moments from Kalin's personal world with the public and global history of AIDS.
Commissioned in 2014 as part of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, a program of seven videos that bring together charged moments and memories from their personal perspective amidst the public history of HIV/AIDS.
About the artist
Tom Kalin is known as a prominent figure in the New Queer Cinema. His critically acclaimed work traverses diverse forms, including experimental films, video installations and narrative feature films. In these works and as a member of the activist collective Gran Fury, Kalin has done significant work to change public opinion of AIDS. Named one of the top 100 American Independent films by the BFI, his first feature, Swoon, was awarded Berlin's Caligari Prize, Stockholm's Fipresci Prize, Sundance's Best Cinematography and the Gotham Awards''Open Palm'. His feature Savage Grace premiered in Cannes, played opening night in Zurich and screened at festivals including Sundance, Karlovy Vary, London and Tribeca. It was nominated for a Spirit Award and named one of the top ten films of 2008 by Artforum and Paper. As a producer his features include I Shot Andy Warhol and Go Fish. He was a writer of Cindy Sherman's Office Killer. He has also created shorts and installations including They are lost to vision altogether, Geoffrey Beene 30, Plain Pleasures, Third Known Nest, Every Wandering Cloud, Behold Goliath, Incontinent and My Silent One. Kalin was a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. He has twice been included in the Whitney Biennial.