Far Off Sounds and The Seasteaders

with Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman
Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 7:00pm

UChicago alum and 2011 winner of the prestigious Edes Prize for Emerging Artists, Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman brings his globe-spanning documentary portraits back home.

His series Far Off Sounds explores disappearing musical traditions like those of the Pako people of Laos alongside eclectic, newly emerging sound artists such as Onyx Ashanti, who makes music with 3D-printed wearable kinetic modular digital synthesizers. The Seasteaders follows a group of Silicon Valley futurists building autonomous, artificial floating islands off the coast of Tahiti. The film finds these self-described “Seasteaders” at the cusp of realizing a years-long dream, the brainchild of Patri Friedman, grandson of Chicago economist Milton Friedman, and funded by Silicon Valley libertarian Peter Thiel. Hurwitz-Goodman and producer Daniel Keller were given unfettered access to the Seasteaders’ first international gathering in Tahiti, where the group doggedly worked to win over skeptical Tahitians to their vision of applying free-market economic theory to governments themselves—sparking a "Cambrian explosion" of floating city-states, seeded in Tahitian waters.

In conversation with Judy Hoffman, Professor of Practice in the Arts in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.

Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman is a director of documentary films, narrative films, music videos, and animated shorts. Upon graduating from the University of Chicago, where he won the Edes Prize for Emerging Artists, he moved to his hometown of Detroit and began producing independent documentaries in collaboration with a local newspaper. One of the documentaries he started there, Incinerator, went on to play on PBS Detroit. This work eventually took him to Ghana where, while employed as the videographer for a nonprofit, he worked with local filmmakers and actors to produce several documentaries and short films. His work has played at the Reel Earth Film Festival in Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, the Center for Art and Urbanistics in Berlin, and Outernational Days Festival in Bucharest, among others.  

Presented by the Film Studies Center with the support from the Charles Roven Fund.