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purple-cloud.jpgA still from Marie Jager's 12-minute 2006 collage film The Purple Cloud.

Coinciding with the first week of the Seattle International Film Festival is a visit from contemporary film artist Marie Jager, who talks to The Stranger's Jen Graves about impoverished mediums, fondling camera parts, and the 1901 Victorian science-fiction novel The Purple Cloud, by M.P Shiel. Jager's 2006 collage film based on the novel and named after it, which made its debut at the California Biennial last fall, and Machines Also Die, her film starring the shiny pieces of the Cameflex Éclair that Jean-Luc Godard used to shoot Breathless in 1960, are on display at the Henry Art Gallery through June 21.

At 8:00 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, May 23, as part of the Henry's "Artist's Cinema" series at Northwest Film Forum, the L.A. artist offers a glimpse of her influences by choosing historic films and contemporary works for a two-hour program of short films that share "a profound wonder of both nature and absurd fictional premises" (the roster includes Dudley Murphy's The Soul of the Cypress [1920], Jean Painleve's The Love Life of the Octopus [1965], Jack Goldstein's 46-second film Butterflies [1975], Dr. Jean Comandon's The Movement of Plants [1927], At the Winter Sea Ice Camp [part of the National Film Board of Canada's Netsilik Eskimo series], and Jean Rouch's Mad Masters from 1956).

This also is your chance to see Jager's Purple Cloud on a big screen in a dark room (the little screen at the entryway to the Henry is slightly window-addled). It's a three-part work presenting fragments of the book's narrative, moving from gemstones in deserts to tomb boats at sea to a city of doomed survivors who've only escaped the stalking of the toxic purple cloud temporarily.

purple-cloud2.jpgAnother still from The Purple Cloud.
machines.jpgA still from Marie Jager's 3-minute 2001 film Machines Also Die.