Artist Projects

Edge of Alchemy

Stacey Steers

Edge of Alchemy concludes a trilogy of films including Phantom Canyon (2006) and Night Hunter (2011) that examine the psychological terrain of women’s inner worlds. By way of a painstaking and labor-intensive process, Steers assembled over 6,500 handworked photo collages, re-imagining American silent film actors Mary Pickford and Janet Gaynor in a phantasmagoric narrative of creation and monstrous hybridities inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Fragments of historical etchings and photographs are combined to construct surreal settings: dreamlike topographies where barren fields are covered with dead bees and chartreuse flowers, and dark recesses where laboratories lost in time are outfitted with strange ironwork and ominous red beakers. Steers’ collage technique is layered, intimate and suggestive, and the fantastastical lifeworlds her collages embody reflect upon “the way we process experience and form memories subliminally,” as noted by the artist. Edge of Alchemy also reveals the startling emotional immediacy in early silent film performances by lingering over “fleeting expressions and extending them in a way that” richly expands what Steers cogently defines as “a state of interiority.”

Project Updates

  • EOA will have its international premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival in August.

  • EOA will screen at the Seattle International Film Festival in May.

  • EOA screened at the Athens Film Festival.

  • EOA screened at the Nashville Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for the Best Experimental Film

  • EOA screened at the 55th Ann Arbor Film Festival where it won the Peter Wilde Award for the most technically innovative film.

  • EOA screened at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival in April of 2017.