CSI professor wins Guggenheim

June 2, 2003 | College of Staten Island

Zoe Beloff, an adjunct professor with the College of Staten Island’s recently formed department of Media Culture, was named a Guggenheim Fellow in the 2003 competition.

Beloff joins an elite group of CSI professors who have earned this distinction: Rafael Herrera, assistant professor of mathematics; Sarah Schulman, assistant professor of English; Patricia Passlof, professor of art; George F. Custen, professor of communications; Ira Shor, associate professor of English; and Phil Niblock, professor of performing and creative arts.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. The new Fellows, which were announced by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, include writers, painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars in the humanities.

Beloff, a Fellowship winner for 2003 was one of 184 awardees who were selected from over 3,200 applicants for awards totaling $6,750,000 according to the Guggenheim Foundation. The Foundation grants these awards based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors, which are approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Beloff’s work includes a variety of cinematic imagery, film, stereoscopic projection performance, and interactive media. She will use her Guggenheim funding on a 3D video installation entitled “The Ideoplastic Materialization of Eva C,” which will be shot at the MCA studio at City College of New York, where Beloff is also an adjunct professor. The video crew will be comprised of CCNY film students and alumni.

“It’s based on a true story about a medium who lived in Paris in the early 1900s and was investigated by a number of famous doctors and scientists,” said Beloff. “Many photographs of her séances were taken. I will use these as an inspiration to conjure up the séances.”

As an artist Beloff considers herself as an heir to the 19th century mediums whose materialization séances evoke unconscious desires in a theatrical fashion.

Her work has been exhibited internationally at such venues as MoMA, The New York Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film festival, the Pacific Film Archives, and the Pompidou Center. Her first interactive video installation, “The Influencing Machine of Miss Natalijaa A,” was exhibited in Dusseldorf and the ZKM in Karlsruhe, both in Germany, in fall 2002.

Recently, Beloff has been presenting “Shadow Land or Light From the Other Side,” a stereoscopic film based on the life of the 19th century medium Elizabeth D’Espérance, and “Claire and Don in Slumberland,” in New York and around the United States.

Raised in Scotland where she studied painting and art history at Edinburgh University and College of Art, she moved to New York in 1980 and earned an MFA in Film from Columbia University in 1983.

She has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships by foundations and organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts (co-recipient with John Cale); the New York State Council for the Arts; The Jerome Foundations, Inc.; The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts; Art Matters, Inc.; The New York Foundation for the Arts; and The Applebaum-Kahn Foundation.

Beloff is a three-time recipient of the Experimental Television Center’s Finishing Funds Award (1996, 2000, 2002). She won the Best Multimedia Project, Best Show prize in the 1998 Apple QuickTime VR competition, and was awarded two residencies (1996, 2000) by Harvestworks Digital Media Arts.

She lives in Manhattan.