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MOCA Artist Film Series: Alison O’Daniel

Still from The Tuba Thieves courtesy of the artist. Cinematography by Derek Howard, Meena Singh, and Judy Phu.

MOCA Artist Film Series: Alison O’Daniel
The Tuba Thieves, 2023, 92 min.
Los Angeles premiere


MOCA Artist Film series is an active and dynamic platform for the presentation of artist films. Inspired by film and video works in MOCA’s renowned collection, the series will offer engaging and notable screenings and live programs with MOCA collection artists and beyond. With presentations in the Ahmanson Auditorium, screenings and Q&As will feature artists, historians, and critics in dialogue with special focus on experiments in long-form, narrative or feature-length films. Centered in the cinema capital of the world, these programs will explore the critical issues of our time and our place.

MOCA presents a screening of The Tuba Thieves followed by a conversation with artists Alison O’Daniel and Charles Gaines.

From 2011 to 2013, tubas were stolen from twelves high schools in Southern California. When reporters told the story, they focused on the thieves and asked the same questions: Who is doing this? Why? What is happening to the tubas? They did not seem curious about what a marching band sounds like without the lowest sound. They did not wonder what the tuba players were now doing in class. No one asked what happens when sound is stolen or lost, owned or delegated. The Tuba Thieves starts from these questions. It is a film about listening, but it is not tethered to the ear. It is a film about Deaf gain, hearing loss and the perception of sound in Los Angeles - by animals, plants and humans. From 2013 to 2018, scenes from the film were produced and exhibited internationally at film festivals, museums, and galleries. The full feature premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023.

Alison O’Daniel is a d/Deaf artist and filmmaker who builds a visual, aural, and haptic vocabulary that reveals (or proposes) a politics of sound that exceeds the auditory. O’Daniel’s film ‘The Tuba Thieves’ premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and is currently on the film festival circuit. O’Daniel is a United States Artist 2022 Disability Futures Fellow and a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow in Film/Video. She is represented by Commonwealth and Council in Los Angeles and is an Assistant Professor of Film at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

A pivotal figure in the field of Conceptual Art, Charles Gaines engages formulas and systems in his work that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Using a generative approach to create series of works in a variety of mediums, he has built a bridge between the early conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s and subsequent generations of artists pushing the limits of conceptualism today.

MOCA Artist Film Series is organized by Clara Kim, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Brian Dang, Programming Coordinator, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

MOCA Artist Film Series is presented by The Edward F. Limato Foundation.