The seven-film series The Ukrainian Time Machine is a conceptual work comprising all the material shot by Naomi Uman over the past five years (2006-2010), when she lived in a small village in Ukraine. Uman is now working on the last film in the series. Under the working title Naomi-Uman, this journal-style feature film is based on her experience in the European country, and it will be shown to the world for the first time, as a work in progress, in Pamplona. It is also the first time Uman has worked with video technology.
Naomi Uman grew up in a residential community on the Hudson River in New York. Since she was a child she was attracted to handcrafted work, so first she went for cooking, studying at the Culinary Institute of America and setting up her own restaurant, which she had for many years. For personal reasons she moved to Madrid, where she learnt to speak Spanish and cook Spanish dishes in a restaurant. When she returned to New York, she went back to school. A lesson in experimental film by John Hanhardt, film and video curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, inspired her to make her first films. Short afterwards she moved to Mexico, where she experienced living in a foreign culture. Back in the US, she completed her film studies at the California Institute of the Arts.
In her work Uman explores unknown worlds, focusing on those aspects that might seem to be the most frightening. Her work is clearly and intimately connected to her personal searches.
In 2006, Naomi set off on the reverse journey that her great grandparents made a century earlier. Besides shooting the seven films that make The Ukrainian Time Machine, in the five years of her experience as an emigrant she grew her own vegetables, made a series of paintings, created an artist-in-residence programme, and screened films in the villages in her area using a 16mm film projector.