A Conversation With Steve Cossman
Steve Cossman is the founder of Mono No Aware, a non-profit cinema arts organization. Through its annual film festival, Mono No Aware showcases contemporary artists who use live film projections or altered light as part of performances, sculptures or installations (Expanded Cinema).
He also conducts workshops on analog filmmaking. Students learn to load film into a Bolex camera and use a light meter.
Early Life and Education
Stephen Coss provides an “intelligent and sweeping” (Booklist) account of the 1721 smallpox epidemic that led to the American Revolution, detailing how Cotton Mather’s controversial experiment of cutting open healthy individuals and injecting them with smallpox material altered medical history, gave rise to American journalism, and helped galvanize colonial opinion toward independence.
Steve Curtis Cosman is the founder and executive director of Brooklyn New York’s Mono No Aware; a non-profit cinema arts organization which hosts an annual event showcasing work by contemporary artists who incorporate live film projections with altered light into performance, sculpture or installation art (Expanded Cinema). Steve completed residencies at MoMA PS1’s Expo 1 and Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto as well as touring Texas offering analog film making workshops (Locally at ASoF June 9-12).
He is also the founding member of DecayNY, creating time-based works on paper and 16mm celluloid. Based in Brooklyn New York, he serves as both director, curator, and visual artist.
Cossman became known for creating one of the first computerized customer information systems which allowed company representatives to quickly access customer records while speaking directly with customers over a telephone line. While similar systems are now ubiquitous, Cossman was at the cutting-edge of IT when creating such systems.
Mono No Aware, the nonprofit cinema arts organization led by Cossman, has long fostered an innovative DIY culture. For over ten years they have provided affordable analog filmmaking workshops across the U.S.
Gearheads who enjoy engineering find these classes both challenging and rewarding. Participants are encouraged to reinvent equipment or reuse salvaged parts; one participant used old rolling stock to construct a linear processing machine that fits easily in his closet.
Achievement and Honors
Cossman is the founder of Mono No Aware, a nonprofit cinema arts organization which celebrates analog filmmaking through an annual festival and workshops using film as an artistic medium.
He offers classes on how to operate and shoot with vintage 16 mm cameras, instructing students in loading and winding reels themselves as well as how to use light meters and focus lenses.
His work has been presented at Dartmouth, the New York Academy of Art, Yale and many Texas filmmaking workshops each summer. WHITE CABBAGE (2011-2014), created in collaboration with Jahiliyya Fields, had its US premier at Anthology Film Archives. He currently resides and works in Brooklyn New York creating time-based works on film, video and paper as a director, curator, visual artist member of DecayNY collective.
Steve Cossman resides in Brooklyn with his wife, daughters and dogs. As both a filmmaker and educator specializing in analog filmmaking techniques, he has taught workshops at Brooklyn College, New York University and The New School. His first major film project TUSSLEMUSCLE earned Kodak’s Continued Excellence in Filmmaking award and was shown worldwide – receiving several Kodak Continued Excellence in Filmmaking awards as well as being shown internationally through MoMA PS1 Expo 1 as part of Expo 1 as well as residencies with Liaison Independent Filmmakers of Toronto.
Cossman is also the founder and director of Mono No Aware; a nonprofit cinema arts organization that showcases contemporary artists incorporating live film projections into performances, sculptures, or installations (Expanded Cinema). Since 2009 he has led analog filmmaking workshops to over 400 participants per year through local workshops while serving international outreach. Furthermore he hosts in-person screening series as well as equipment rentals out of his Brooklyn home.
Mono No Aware is a non-profit cinema arts organization dedicated to using altered light projections as performance sculpture or installation art, equipment rentals program and import/distribution of various film stocks. Furthermore, they organize in-person screenings featuring contemporary artists who employ moving images in their work.
Cossman began his fortune through mail-order novelty supply business with his brother-in-law and popular invention of an ant farm, making millions selling these must-have products before turning his attention to writing books and conducting seminars on his journey from poverty to riches. On Dec 7, 2018 at his Palm Springs, California residence he passed away aged 84 years.