Can’t Make It to the Whitney Biennial? Stream These Films Online Instead

A partnership between New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art and Mubi streaming service is bringing a selection of video works from this year’s biennial film program outside of the Meatpacking District. While three of the films can also be watched in person at the museum, five are exclusively available through the online platform.

Starting April 12, Mubi subscribers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom will be able to watch films spanning experimental shorts, documentaries, and video performance, selected by Whitney Biennial curators Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli.

Founded in 2007, Mubi is a global film distributor, production company, and streaming platform based in the UK. Though it’s the first time the Whitney Biennial’s films are made available to screen online, Mubi has a long history of partnering with cultural institutions. The service has supported projects and initiatives held at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, London’s Hayward Gallery, the Barbican, Royal Academy of Arts, and Whitechapel Gallery, among others. Still, the partnership with the Whitney, in which works are exhibited at the museum and appear on the platform, is unique.

Through the partnership, any Whitney Biennial ticket holder will be able to sign up for a free 60-day subscription to Mubi to access the eight films in the streaming program along with the rest of the platform’s collection. Those without tickets can also watch the films by either signing up for a free week-long trial or subscribing to Mubi’s monthly or annual memberships.

Read on to learn about the array of films that will be available to stream.

spirit emulsion
Still from Siku Allooloo, Spirit Emulsion (2022), hand-processed Super 8mm film, black and white, sound, 8 minutes (© Siku Allooloo and Akia Films Inc.; photo by Siku Alloolo)

Siku Allooloo’s “Spirit Emulsion” (2022)

Filmed on digital video and hand-processed Super 8 developed with botanical medicines and flowers, this experimental short centers the life, activism, and culture of the filmmaker’s Taíno Indigenous mother, Marie-Hélène Laraque.

tray tray ko
Still from Seba Calfuqueo, “TRAY TRAY KO” (2022) HD video, color, sound, 6 minutes, 13 seconds (© Seba Calfuqueo; photo by Sebastian Melo)

Seba Calfuqueo’s “TRAY TRAY KO” (2022)

Also on view in the Biennial’s onsite film program, Seba Calfuqueo’s short film explores trayenko, or waterfall, in Mapuche cosmology through a meditative video performance interlacing the artist’s body with natural landscapes and flowing water.

spiral circle
Still from Kite, “Pahá kiŋ lená wakháŋ (These hills are sacred)” (2017), video, sound, color, 8 minutes, 32 seconds (© Kite Studio; photo by Kite)

Kite’s “Pahá kiŋ lená wakháŋ (These hills are sacred)” (2017)

This eight-and-a-half minute film combines animated graphics with historical references and wildlife footage to examine the complex relationship between artificial intelligence and Lakȟóta concepts of time, place, and spiritual existence.

Ligia Lewis A Plot a Scandal still
Still from Ligia Lewis, “A Plot / A Scandal” (2023), HD video, color, sound, 20 minutes (© Ligia Lewis)

Ligia Lewis’s “A Plot / A Scandal” (2023)

Interweaving historical, political, anecdotal, and mythical narratives, dancer and choreographer Ligia Lewis utilizes notions of spectacle and scandal to contend with the dispossession of Europe’s marginalized communities in this 20-minute performance. This short film is also on view in the Whitney’s fifth-floor galleries.

Still from Nyala Moon, “Dilating for Maximum Results” (2023), digital video, color, sound, 14 minutes (© Nyala Moon)

Nyala Moon’s “Dilating for Maximum Results” (2023)

This 14-minute film follows the story of Dreya (portrayed by filmmaker Nyala Moon), a Black trans woman who recently underwent vaginoplasty surgery, as she navigates the trials of physical intimacy in preparation to meet a man she met online.

Still form Raqs Media Collective, “The Bicyclist Who Fell into a Time Cone” (2023), HD video, color, sound, 25 minutes (© Raqs Media Collective; photo by Raqs Media Collective)

Raqs Media Collective’s “The Bicyclist Who Fell into a Time Cone” (2023)

Oscillating between analog video and footage from the present, this film revisits the year 1980 and New Delhi’s myriad histories from multiple points of view.

i dont know
Still from Penelope Spheeris, “I Don’t Know” (1970), 16mm film, black and white, sound, 18 minutes (© Spheeris Films Inc.; photo by Penelope Spheeris)

Penelope Spheeris’s “I Don’t Know” (1970)

This contemplative documentary short tells the story of filmmaker Penelope Spheeris’s sister Linda and her relationship with Jennifer, a trans man whose fluid gender identity falls outside of binary definitions.

Still from Clarissa Tossin, Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’ / Antes de que los volcanes canten / Before the Volcanoes Sing (2022), HD video, color, sound, 63 minutes (© Clarissa Tossin; photo by Clarissa Tossin)

Clarissa Tossin’s Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’ / Antes de que los volcanes canten / Before the Volcanoes Sing (2022)

Told through the personal stories of poet Rosa Chávez (Maya K’iche ’Kaqchiquel) and artist Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal (Ixil Maya), this experimental film examines how contemporary modern life is reignited through cultural reclamation and restoration, traveling through architectural sites and utilizing 3D-printed replicas of ancient wind instruments. The film is also being shown on-site at the Biennial.

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