Squeaky Wheel celebrates 30 years of media innovation


Emily Niman/The Record

Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center, 617 Main St. offers equipment rentals to aspiring filmmakers.

Emily Niman, Staff Writer

Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Arts Center’s 30th Anniversary Exhibition is currently on display in the Burchfield Penney Art Center Project Gallery.

Since 1985, Squeaky Wheel has been the front-runner for unique media in Buffalo.

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is an idiom that Squeaky Wheel closely associates with. The organization’s focus is not just on making media, but also reclaiming it for a better purposes such as art, activism, awareness, and education. In a sense, the organization is drawing attention through their media (giving grease) to problems that are occurring in society (squeaky wheels).

Upon entering the exhibit, the viewer is surrounded by screens. On these screens, video clips produced by the organizations members are streaming. These film clips are diverse with varying media production styles and topics that range from the horrors of war, to the magic that animals possess, and everything in between.

Squeaky Wheel has been involved in many community organizations that create media to shed light on issues facing Buffalo, many of which are on display.

One focus of the exhibit is on the “Youth Media Initiatives Reel.” The videos on this reel were produced by students. This section of the exhibit highlights that youth media is a priority for Squeaky Wheel, having introduced thousands of young people to the “creative potential” of media. From there, many youths have gone on to become filmmakers, photographers, artists, and activists.

The exhibit features multiple screens which display a series of avant-garde video clips. Of these clips, some originate from “The Founders Reel,” while others from “The Resident Artists Reel” or the “Axlegrease to Artgrease Reel.” These clips, designed by varying members, grab the attention of the viewer, and showcase the history and evolution of the organization.

Part of the exhibition asks viewers to make their own media by recording a 30-second video at a station in the Project Space. This further testifies to Squeaky Wheel’s attitude toward community involvement and accessibility.

Works from past and present members are on display. Amongst these members are some of Buffalo State’s faculty and staff – Meg Knowles, Ruth Goldman, Brian Milbrand, and Dorothea Braemer.

This exhibition gives Buffalo State students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with a world-class media organization.

In order to truly comprehend the ideas and purpose of Squeaky Wheel, one must set aside time to properly view the media. A viewer could easily spend hours in the exhibit, moving from screen to screen, trying to understand the meaning of a video and what message the artist is trying to convey.

The exhibition will be on display until Jan. 24, 2016. Admission is free to SUNY Buffalo State students with ID.

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