The Illinois Parables:
Screening + Q&A with Deborah Stratman

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Everson Museum, Hosmer Auditorium
401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY

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Related Exhibition

Deborah Stratman: Xenoi

April 6 – June 3, 2017
Thurs. – Sat., dusk to 11pm
Everson Museum Plaza

Light Work’s Urban Video Project (UVP) is pleased to present a special screening of Deborah Stratman’s award-winning film The Illinois Parables at the Everson Museum of Art on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

The artist will join us in-person for a Q&A following the screening.

Reception follows. FREE & OPEN to the public.

This event is held in conjunction with the exhibition of recent work by Deborah Stratman at UVP’s outdoor architectural projection venue on the Everson Museum Plaza from April 6 – June 3, 2017.

About the Work

The Illinois Parables
Runtime: 60 min.

The Illinois Parables, which won the Stan Brakhage award at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, is a suite of Midwestern parables that question the historical role belief has played in ideology and national identity.

An experimental documentary comprised of regional vignettes about faith, force, technology and exodus. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois. The state is a convenient structural ruse, allowing its histories to become allegories that explore how we’re shaped by conviction and ideology.

The film suggests links between technological and religious abstraction, placing them in conversation with governance. Locations are those where the boundaries between the rational and supernatural are tenuous. They are “thin places” where the distance between heaven and earth has collapsed, or more secularly, any place that bears a heavy past, where desire and displacement have lead us into or erased us from the land. What began as a consideration of religious freedom eventually led to sites where belief or invention triggered expulsion. The film utilizes reenactment, archival footage, observational shooting, inter-titles and voiceover to tell its stories and is an extension of previous works in which the director questioned foundational American tenants.

The Parables consider what might constitute a liturgical form. Not a sermon, but a form that questions what morality catalyzes, and what belief might teach us about nationhood. In our desire to explain the unknown, who or what do we end up blaming or endorsing?

About the Artist

Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Much of her work points to the relationships between physical environments and human struggles for power and control that play out on the land. Recent projects have addressed freedom, expansionism, surveillance, sonic warfare, public speech, ghosts, sinkholes, levitation, propagation, orthoptera, raptors, comets and faith. She has exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA NY, Centre Pompidou, Hammer Museum, Mercer Union, Witte de With, the Whitney Biennial and festivals including Sundance, Viennale, CPH/DOX, Oberhausen, Ann Arbor, Full Frame, Rotterdam and Berlinale. Stratman is the recipient of Fulbright, Guggenheim and USA Collins fellowships, a Creative Capital grant and an Alpert Award. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.

For more information, visit the artist’s website:


If you require accommodations for a disability, please contact Anneka Herre at or 315-443-1369.

CART services can be arranged with notice on or before 4/17. After 4/17 a printed transcript of the piece can be provided.

The Everson Museum Hosmer Auditorium is wheelchair accessible. Contact for further details.


This special event is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Syracuse University Humanities Center.