Bill Morrison is a filmmaker whose works feature edited archival material set to contemporary music. He employs found 35mm nitrate film that is chemically decomposing to create new narratives. Morrison is a founding member of the performing ensemble Ridge Theater as well as member of Arts Letters & Numbers Board of Directors.
Gotham is a 35-minute film that takes the city of New York as both its subject and its leading lady. Growing out of the notion of New York-as-hometown, Gotham is a personalized portrayal of this particular place—its back streets and its minutiae, its dreams, and its detritus—seeking to reclaim New York for those who live and work here. In so doing, Gotham becomes a map of the urban inner landscape for any city-dweller of the 21st century. Gotham is a collaboration between Bill and composer Michael Gordon, as well as visual artist Laurie Olinder, and director Bob McGrath.
Morrison's early films include Footprints (1992), The Death Train (1993), Nemo (1995), The Film of Her (1996), City Walk (1999), Ghost Trip (2000), and Trinity (2000). His experimental collage film Decasia (2002) was a collaboration with the composer Michael Gordon. With funds from his 2003 Grants to Artists Award, Morrison premiered Gotham (2004) at Zankel Hall. The film combines archival and original footage of New York City with a symphony by Michael Gordon. His subsequent works include Outerborough (2005), The Highwater Trilogy (2006), Porch (2006), Who By Water (2007), Fuel (2007), Dystopia (2008), Release (2010), and Spark of Being (2010). The Miner's Hymns (2011), with score by Jóhann Jóhannsson, toured with live musical performances in the United States, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. In 2014, Morrison's The Great Flood opened theatrically and was released on DVD by Icarus Films. In the same year Morrison premiered Beyond Zero 1914-1918, a collaboration with the composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and the Kronos Quartet at Edinburgh International Festival and at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival. Morrison also had a mid-career retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 2014.
Morrison has been commissioned to create films to accompany live musical performances by composers such as Bill Frissell, Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, Richard Einhorn, John Adams, David Lang, Henryk Gorecki, Julia Wolfe, Harry Partch, and Todd Reynolds.