Mission Drift: Film & Discussion w/Charles de Agustin
Arts + Literature Laboratory welcomes filmmaker Charles de Agustin to screen and discuss his recent short film Mission Drift on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 7:00pm. Arts workers and their colleagues are invited to join us for a screening and an open discussion about current conditions for artmaking and nonprofit arts organizations. Mission Drift running time is 13 minutes, total event duration will be approximately 90 minutes. Free admission, suggested donation $5.
Mission Drift follows a nonprofit art gallery worker who tries to stay afloat when a sadomasochistic philanthropist infiltrates the organization. An experimental essay film tinged with noir and fantasy, the work is driven by research into the sparse history of federal US arts funding since the 1930s and more recent universal basic income trials. The film’s tragic narrative takes aim at how seductive philanthropy can be and points toward the need to constantly reinvent strategies against mechanisms of capture. Various formal strategies in the work also intend to explore the relationships between accessibility, complicity, precarity, and cinema.
Its medium described as “video and discussion,” Mission Drift screenings around the country are followed by a robust audience discussion on the issues at hand. All guests will be essential parts of the conversation with artist Charles de Agustin, Rob Franklin (Rob Dz) of Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN) and Katie Avila Loughmiller, Co-Founder + Creative Director of LUNA (Latinas Unidas en las Artes) in Milwaukee, and other Madison-based arts workers and administrators, rooted in our experiences of working in the arts in Madison. The aim is to expose untapped potential for organizing through the arts, considering tensions between the state, philanthropy, and grassroots movements.
Please note that the discussion audio will be recorded, though only an anonymized (i.e. names and other identifying details deleted) text transcript will be used for the artist’s future research purposes.
Charles de Agustin is an artist-filmmaker based in Brooklyn exploring questions between critique, access, intimacy, and capture. Select 2023–24 solo screenings include Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago; Maysles Documentary Center, New York; and Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn. Recent group exhibitions, screenings, and performances include New Contemporaries / South London Gallery & Firstsite, England; Ann Arbor Film Festival, Michigan, US; Kassel Dokfest, Germany; RISD, US; Alternative Film/Video, Belgrade, Serbia; ISFF Nijmegen, Netherlands; Alliances & Commonalities, Stockholm, Sweden; Athens Film + Video Festival, Ohio, US; and Revolutions per Minute Festival, Boston, US. Press/publications include Screen Slate,, Chicago Filmmakers, and Aesthetica Art Prize.
de Agustin earned a BFA in filmmaking and philosophy at Rutgers University as a Presidential Honors Scholar, and an MFA in studio art at the University of Oxford on a Slade Bursary.