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Supporting the future(s) we want

Karen Yasinsky

Born Pittsburgh, PA 1965

Life is an Opinion, Fire is a Fact

Animation and HD video
Runtime 9:43
Courtesy of the artist

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The point of the film is to go from acts of despair towards some suggestion of serenity. What goes on when we watch horrific events and specifically the horror of suicide that we only watch on TV or film? The act just shows the result but not the ideas and feelings that lead to it. The first image shows a woman who just jumped to her death. The animated scene of self immolation is shot in reverse so narrative buildup of tension is denied. The character places himself atop a statue of Marcus Aurelius from whom the quote, 'Life is an Opinion,' comes. We end in a place, through sound or image, that suggests diverse definitions of serenity (an opinion).


Karen Yasinsky is an artist and filmmaker working with animation, collage, painting and drawing. Her video installations and other works have been shown in many galleries and museums internationally including the Mori Art Musuem, Tokyo; PS1 Contemporary Art, NY; UCLA Hammer Museum, LA; the Wexner Center, Columbus, Museum Folkwang, Essen and Kunst Werke, Berlin. Her films and videos have been screened worldwide at various venues and film festivals including the National Gallery of Art, DC; MoMA, NY; the New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant Garde; Crossroads, SF; the San Francisco International; Images Festival, Toronto; the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Ann Arbor Film Festival where she won the Leon Speakers Award for Best Sound Design in 2013. She is a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin and the American Academy in Rome, is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Baker Award. Two early animations, No Place Like Home #1 and 2 are included on the Criterion Channel through Miranda July's Joan 4 Jackie project. She teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Film and Media Studies.