Artist Projects


Bill Morrison

Decasia, an 80-minute film created from restored nitrate footage re-photographed onto 35mm, uses decaying found footage from the early days of film to investigate the human desire to transcend the limitations of earthbound existence. The abstract scenario follows the course of a life-cycle, beginning with 1927 footage by Sergei Eisenstein of a cesarean section and live birth, and includes shots from a mission school where Native Americans were taught discipline by nuns in foreboding black shawls. The score for Decasia was composed by Bang On A Can co-founder Michael Gordon, and the work was initially screened with live accompaniment by the Basel Sinfonietta in November 2001.

Project Updates

  • 2012: Decasia screens with live orchestral score at the World Financial Center Wintergarden in New York

  • 2010: Decasia screens at Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of Creative Capital film festival

  • 2002: Decasia premieres at the Sundance Film Festival

  • 2002: Decasia is featured in The New York Times Magazine article “Sublime Decay.”

  • 2003: Decasia receives a one-week run at Anthology Film Archives in New York

  • 2003: Decasia receives UK distribution through the British Film Institute (BFI)

  • 2004: Decasia ’s DVD release is featured in the New York Times article, “After the Decay of Decay, a New Modernity.”

  • 2004: Decasia ’s screening with musical accompaniment at St. Ann’s Warehouse is featured in The New York Times article, “From Dying Movies, The Birth of a Score.”

  • 2004: Articles about Decasia run in The Guardian, Sight and Sound, and TimeOut New York

  • 2007: Decasia is presented live with orchestral accompaniment at the Angel Orensanz Center for the Arts in New York