These works, originally seen in Lake Ivan's popular cable access show, "Lake Ivan Exists," display the Group's signature style of verbally and visually dense video collage. All of the words, actions, music, and videography you see in these videos were completely improvised by the performers. Overlaid animated imagery and text help the viewer to make sense of the complex soundtrack, which consists of two simultaneous monologues plus music, by bringing out the emotional and musical threads which run through the piece, while highlighting key phrases of text. Lake Ivan is committed to the serious exploration of improvisation as a tool to uncover the hidden energies and forces which surround human consciousness, and to presenting these discoveries in works which are evocative, ironic, and resonant.

For information about my feature film Spontaneous Artifacts go here.

For information about my feature film Suggestive Gestures go here.

Balancing on a Molecule (Dirt: Part Three) (2023) 22 minutes

snake

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Balancing on a Molecule uses animation, music, and incantations to enact a series of video rituals, trying to strike a balance between rapture and vulnerability. In order for rituals to be effective, we need to place our trust in them, which can open the door to revelation, but also leave us open to manipulation and madness.

A collage of poetic imagery, music, and invocatory language, the film follows two men in a series of esoteric experiments. Their words gives rise to desert landscapes, populated by sweat lodges, snakes, and an unusual game of tennis. A postmodern video opera, Balancing on a Molecule bathes the viewer in music, language, and visual spectacle. View an excerpt of the video here.

Marginal Understandings (Dirt: Part Two) (2023) 22 minutes

UNeedMe

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Marginal Understandings is a poetic exploration of the American relationship to space, the soil, and ownership. While the drama of the European invasion and occupation of the American continent was justified as being the "destiny" of white people, there have always been alternative ways of living on the land, practiced by people who have been pushed to the economic margins.

A collage of poetic imagery, music, and abstracted, incantatory language, the film follows two men in an excavation of our cultural soil, using improvised dialog. Their words gives rise to unexpected landscapes, populated by bats, conquistadors, and flying fiddles. A postmodern video opera, Marginal Understandings bathes the viewer in music, language, and visual spectacle. View an excerpt of the video here.

Soap is an Illusion (Dirt: Part One) (2022) 20.5 minutes

Fan

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Soap is an Illusion plunges the viewer into the volatility of our conflicting attractions to dirt and cleanliness. A collage of poetic imagery, music, and abstracted, incantatory language, the film follows two men in an excavation of our cultural soil. Their dialog gives rise to unexpected landscapes, populated by revengeful toasters, soap bubbles which fly on magic carpets, and other surprises. A postmodern video opera, Soap bathes the viewer in music and visual spectacle. View an excerpt of the video here.

Spontaneous Artifacts (2021) 77 minutes

Knee

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Two actors improvise an extended dialog, examining the way that we record and organize our experiences, and the dangers inherent in creative expression. Their words inspire a series of complex, unfolding landscapes, meticulously rendered in 3D animation, and a multi-layered musical score. Like archeologists of the unconscious, their explorations unearth images from their imaginations, as well as from our shared, cultural legacies, giving rise to vistas filled with clocks, flying pizza pies, pyramids, tarot cards, and myriad other artifacts. By turns ecstatic, reflective, illuminating and elegiac, these visually sumptuous explorations draw the viewer into an inner landscape. View an excerpt of the video here.

A Colleciton of Eccentricities (2020) 18 minutes

Fan

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

A poetic examination of the collector's impulse, the need to map out the world by identifying the objects, people, and works of art which define one's sensibility. Choices made in childhood have a definitive effect on the lens through which you view the world. Dissolving all sensory impressions into a saturated solution allows the touchstones of one's sensibility to appear spontaneously, like crystals. A Collection of Eccentricities unfolds in the form of a poetic dialog, taking place within a landscape of swirling, flaring skirts, maps covered with red pins, millstones which grind fruit into books, and many other signs of the building of one's personal topography. View an excerpt of the video here.

Spiral Garage (2019) 14 minutes

Fan

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

A visit to a hypercritical world, where people continually lob insults at one another, creating a poisonous atmosphere which leads to a spiral of violence. In a symbolic downward journey through a garage, this animated film takes the viewer past junked cars, pizza pies used as missiles, and freakishly overgrown flowers, finally arriving at a level where the shared pain of loss offers a way to connect peacefully with others. View an excerpt of the video here.

Miraculous Aqueduct (2018) 15 and a half minutes

Danger

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

A poetic exploration of the sources of creativity. Do we take a scattershot approach to inspiration, throwing ideas out at random, to see which ones take root? Or can we plug directly into a never-ending source of new ideas, an effortless flow? "Miraculous Aqueduct" is a journey through an interior landscape filled with tarot cards, towers, and centurions; a collage of words, images and music, in which the film's two narrators discover that acknowledging inner blocks is the key to overcoming them. View an excerpt of the video here.

Recording Device (2017) 24 and a half minutes

Helix

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

A poetic exploration of the ways we store our memories. A collage of words, images and music, showing how we scratch and etch our impressions onto paper, film, vinyl and other media, shaping our view of the world. A journey through an interior landscape filled with snakes, saxophones, pyramids, the film's two narrators explore the effects of stored memories, both corrosive and illuminating. View an excerpt of the video here.

The Linen Closet (2016) 22 minutes

Alice

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
with: Alice Teirstein
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

An older woman opens a closet door and finds a key to her confused, fading memories. Hearing and vision loss isolate her, and her mental confusion keeps her suspended in the tactile sensations of the immediate present. The touch of old linen brings back old family history, both pleasant and traumatic. Based on an improvised dialog by David Finkelstein and Ian W. Hill, "The Linen Closet" blends animation, music, dance, and performance to create a poetic portrait of the inner world of a woman struggling to make sense of the present and find peace with the past. View an excerpt of the video here.

Privy (2015) 20 minutes

Witch

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
with: Michael Spaeth, Barbara Vann
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

A young woman is forced to live with an unsympathetic stepmother, and spends much of her time in an outhouse, escaping into books and her own vivid fantasy life. Privy uses oblique, poetic language, fanciful images and musical interludes to depict her daydreams and her evolving plans for escape. View an excerpt of the video here.

Invincible City (2012) 21 minutes

Invincible City

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

In a city of dead ideas, dry, brittle conversations, and trembling, crystalized buildings, two men seek the proper approach to take towards the end of the world. Should one sit back, writing notes in a crumbling notebook, or should one rush headlong into the flames? View an excerpt of the video here.

The Two Fauns (2011)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 18 minutes

The Two Fauns

With: Paul Daniel Cloeter and JJ Sosnowski
Directed, Edited, and visual design by David Finkelstein
Music by Randall Wong
Performed by: C4, the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective
Text: Percy Bysshe Shelley

Description:

A scene from Percy Shelley's lyrical drama, "Prometheus Unbound," in which two fauns are entranced by the sounds of unseen spirits. Here, the two fauns are two men, engaged in a friendly game of pursuit, as one of them follows the other through grungy alleys and doorways. They follow the sounds of an unseen chorus, seemingly the voices of spirits who are blessing and encouraging their amorous play. (The score, for sixteen voices plus vibes and harp, is by Randall Wong.) Superimposed words and animated images illustrate Shelley's text. When the two men finally come together, they engage in a dialogue, in the tones of erotic banter. View the video here.

Epistolary Fusillades (2010)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 18 minutes

Epistolary Fusillades

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Shattered mind, shattered images, shattered culture. Fragmented messages bombard us from all directions, like a barrage of letters from every corner of the globe. Should the artist "hold the mirror ball" up to nature, and mesmerize the populace with fractured distractions? Is our decentralized culture doomed to incoherence? Or can the artist build new meanings through the technique of collage? Based on an improvisation. View an excerpt of the video here.

Marvelous Discourse (2009)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 21 minutes

Marvelous Discourse

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Agnes de Garron
Ian W. Hill
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Language passes through the body, meaty, corporeal, and breathing. Do you adopt the stereotypically "male" strategy of verbally lunging at your opponent, trying to skewer him rhetorically, or do you adopt the "feminine" approach, like the Oracle of Delphi, and open your body to allow voices from the beyond to speak through you? "Marvelous Discourse" uses cave art, shadow puppets, and a visit to a caf? in the Israeli town of Endor, among many other images, to explore the gendered experience of language-in-the-body. The text for the video is completely improvised by the actors, as a spectacular example of language unfolding from an intuitive physicality. View an excerpt of the video here.

Terrifying Blankness (2008)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 30 minutes

Terrifying Blankness

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Cassie Terman
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Based on a completely improvised performance, "Terrifying Blankness" examines the dilemma of choice. Paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong move, the two protagonists find themselves either trapped on the wheel of desire or else trying to escape from the fear of choice entirely by withdrawing into an empty blankness. Lemons, snakes, and swans are among the curious images which play a part in this existential drama. Will they finally locate the inner voice which will guide them in their decisions? View an excerpt of the video here.

Reproductive Technology (2008)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 25 minutes

Reproductive Technology

Created and performed by:
Emma Traxler
David Finkelstein
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Based on a completely improvised performance, "Reproductive Technology" examines how our consciousness is shaped by the mechanics of our biological existence: birth, death and reproduction. Pregnant male seahorses, a carnivorous phone booth, a gynecologist with a rubber fetish, and a comforter filled with sea creatures are all examined, along with numerous other images, in a quest to unlock the mysteries of the reproductive imperative and it's shaping influence on how we perceive the world. View an excerpt of the video here.

Wrested Variations (2007) 7.5 minutes

Wrested Variations

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Jill Vallery
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

In an abandoned loading dock by a canal, dancer Jill Vallery and actor David Finkelstein perform five poetic variations on the theme of fragmented consciousness, and the struggle to extract meaning from the rubble. Based on an improvisation and inspired by the ruined, post-industrial site, Vallery and Finkelstein combine movement, text and music in a series of short segments which range from the richly comic to the lyrical. Overlaid imagery augments and clarifies the improvised material. View the video here.

Two Distinct Courses of Action (2006)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 24 minutes

Two Distinct Courses

Created and performed by:
David Finkelstein
Cassie Terman
Editing, music, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Based on a completely improvised performance, "Two Distinct Courses of Action" examines an increasingly polarized world in which starkly contrasting images in black and white threaten to eclipse all color and nuance. Repeated attempts to launch into the freedom of flight are thwarted by a military mindset which threatens to reduce the world into simplified antagonisms. Language exhibits an uncomfortable independence from the intentions of the speaker, as subtitles detach themselves from the film frame and fly away. The Devil has a featured role, and the paintings of Pieter Bruegel are a recurring theme throughout.

Agnus Dei (2006) 9 minutes

agnus dei

Created and performed by:
Agnes de Garron
Music: Gioacchino Rossini "Petite Messe Solennelle"
Soloist: Nick Clapton
Musical Director: Duncan Saunderson
Editing, sound mix and visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Choreographer and drag artist Agnes de Garron interprets the "Agnus Dei" from Rossini's "Petite Messe Solennelle" with a unique blend of pathos, emotional nuance, and sly humor. The video makes full use of the subtler, small-scale movement language which the camera makes available to the choreographer. Set in a rambling garden, de Garron's movement complements the voice of countertenor Nick Clapton in a unique style, devoid of camp clich?s, yet vulnerable and sincere.

Electrical Fields (2006) 12 minutes

display

Created and performed by:
Larry Bogad
Alessandra Di Castri
David Finkelstein
Varrick Grimes
Donald Kitt
Adam Venker
Aaron Weiner
Music by David Finkelstein
Visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

A group of six people are discovered inhabiting a field. Seemingly self-absorbed and islolated, they are in fact connected by an invisible network of energy. A mechanical bird atop a telegraph pole serenades them. A collage of music, text, and images, "Electrical Fields" creates a portrait of a world where ordinary actions scintillate with electricity.

Display Devices (2005)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 25 minutes

display

Created and performed by David Finkelstein and James Martin
Music by David Finkelstein
Visual design by David Finkelstein

Description:

Based on a completely improvised performance, "Display Devices" juxtaposes meticulously animated digital images with floating, spinning grids of color, to create a pixelated universe, in which tiny rectangles of pure color are combined into images which display coded messages of gender, philosophy, and urgently personal visions. Male peacocks display their feathers, warriors don their war bonnets, Carmen Miranda decks herself out in a fruity hat, and cocoa wafers dissolve themselves into cups of cocoa, while a lush musical score and constantly shifting visual perspectives lift the viewer into a dizzying flight through perceptual space.

Lovely Academic Slaughter Houses (2005)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 27 minutes

academic

Created and performed by David Finkelstein and James Martin
Music by Chris Cochrane, Bob Goldberg, David Finkelstein and James Martin
Visual design by David Finkelstein

WINNER: Best of Fest: Experimental
Putnam County Film and Video Festival, 2005

Description:

Inside the card catalogue of the University library, Greek boys and pin-up girls gambol on the Acropolis. Meanwhile, out in the real world, parfait desserts and unruly children are floating by in uncontrollable clouds of bubbles. Based on a fully improvised text, this video meditates on how the boxlike conceptual thinking of academia attempts to grapple with sexuality, gender, culture, and the unclassifiably bubblelike flow of reality. Multiple layers of meticulously crafted imagery help the viewer to make sense of the complex text and music.

Earth and Moon in Love (2004)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 21 minutes

episode_21

The Earth sung and portrayed by John Collis
The Moon sung by Randall Wong, portrayed by David Finkelstein
Videography: Fernando Manece
Composed, directed, edited, visual design by: David Finkelstein

WINNER: "Best of Festival: Experimental" at the Putnam County Film and Video Festival
"Silver Medal of Excellence" at the Park City Film Music Festival
"Best Experimental Short" at the Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival
"Best of Festival: Experimental" at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival

Description:

At the climax of Percy Shelley's lyrical drama, "Prometheus Unbound," Mankind is delivered once and for all from tyranny, and the Universe celebrates his newfound freedom and self-mastery. As part of this celebration, the Earth and the Moon fall rapturously in love. This musical setting for acclaimed countertenors RANDALL WONG and JOHN COLLIS places the amorous planets among floating panels of scenery which illustrate almost every line of the text, creating a visual/musical feast which is at once silly, mystical, and delirious.

Born in Mid-Flight (2004)
BUY NOW ON AMAZON 34 minutes

episode_21

Directed by David Finkelstein
Created and performed by David Finkelstein, Agnes de Garron and James Martin
Videography: Stephan E. Brown
Music: Steve Sandberg
Editing and visual design: David Finkelstein

WINNER: Best of Fest: Experimental
Berkeley Video and Film Festival

Description:

On a journey across Central Park, a woman's compact catches on fire, and she encounters strange men made of clay and a traveling grove of trees, among many other things. She is seranaded by Italian seamen, and contemplates the connections between theater, genetic reproduction, and death. "Born in Mid-flight" is a depiction of life as perpetual change.

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