Luggage Store Projection Space: Nara Denning

artistNara DenningcuratorEliza Barrioslocationluggage store gallery projection spacedateOctober 1 - October 31

Public projections have given a new meaning to video. Experiencing moving pictures in public for free often translates to the of selling of a product or a lifestyle. With that in mind, programming at Luggage Store’s Projection Space has offered video art for everyone to experience. Videos presented have often been non-linear, non-narrative and site specific, accommodating for the temporal state a person experiences on the corner of 6th & Market.

For the month of October LSPS reconsiders the space by transforming the window into an outdoor movie screen presenting the narrative works of silent filmmaker Nara Denning. Under the Pavement, Denning’s new feature length compilation of five short films, offer viewers visually stunning and poetically composed narratives providing a respite from the hustle and bustle of 6th & Market and provoking thoughts, ideas and inspirations.


A feature length compendium of five short films united under a common theme of identity crisis in the modern era. Each story presents a conflict between inner and outer reality that takes shape in the characters’ dreams and interior lives. Here they will discover the true meaning of the conflict: an obstacle to the soul’s expression on Earth. It is in this realm of the subconscious that they must confront the obstacle and recreate themselves and their relationship to the world.

A woman is a mask carver of her own changing identity, forever driven to transformation by the “call of the heart.” She fears for her heart’s survival, as it is a fragile vessel. Yet it demands fiercely, without apparent concern for its own safety. She tries to keep it safe by putting it in the care of her lover, but discovers the same telltale signs of impermanence within the house of his own heart. This is the trial of a winded spirit, a meditation on the evolution of identity and also an examination of the pendulum swing within the secret heart of every woman and man.

A man questions the fabric of modern life. Like Pinocchio’s “Fun Land” in which little boys are transformed into mules, he finds himself trapped within a system that transforms men into dogs. He desperately desires a “real” life while at the same time his aversion to reality causes him to live like a shut-in, a post-modern American refugee. He is graced by the moon, which taunts and follows him, inspiring howls of yearning and chaos throughout the city, which then assumes the form of the “Blue Fairy” and shows him that the freedom he seeks is neither here nor there, but in the realm of spirit.

A woman escapes from the hazards of emotion in the quiet dreamland of her tiny attic. In her refuge she clings to the simplicity and grace of her own reflection, which takes form as her only companion. Here there is no compromise or risk, only self-love and self-possession. However, her sanctuary will not save her from the visitation of shadows – knocking from her past: angry ghosts of the love she sacrificed for the life of a narcissist and the fears that hold her captive.


A house of bitterness filled with frozen images of the past. Joy cannot enter a house of perfect control. It’s keeper is vexed by a young girl, lost within the house, who disturbs the silence, reliving laughter and sadness almost forgotten. …Shameful mistakes of her youth are not acts of frailty to be disowned, but of innocence to be forgiven.

The Odyssey retold with a self-made craft, a musical star of fate and a night of wine and dreams in the arms of a dubious siren. In the morning she will have to return to the question of to whom her faith belongs.

Nara Denning
Born in San Francisco in 1976, Nara Denning is a native of the fringes and seeker of invisible realities. She has made a body of work which interprets what she has so far encountered, collecting antique elements to create seductive, turbulent dreamscapes inspired by personal memoir as recalled by the symbolic language of the heart. Denning creates a heightened reality that merges the external and internal experience. Her current film series “Under the Pavement” explores identity crisis in the modern age. Denning was awarded “Best New Silent Filmmaker 2009” by the SF Weekly as well as the 2010 “Investing in Artists” grant from the Center of Cultural Innovation and the 2011 Individual Artist Commission Award by the San Francisco Arts Commission.