Artist Reviews

This essay describes Ergun’s use of ritual, and his attempt to occupy a position between viewing them as either socially or spiritually significant or as merely empty.  Rather, Ergun examines the act itself, in opposition to the approach he feels most typified by Leni Riefenstahl, who similarly documented ritual, but in a way that adopted the ritual’s perceived sense of cultural significance, almost to the point of abstraction.  Ergun, on the other hand, attempts to maintain a more di

In this essay, Westmoreland discusses Zaatari’s upbringing in Lebanon, and how he came to filmmaking primarily through an early interest in photography, which he used to document the tumultuous world around him.  Westmoreland also addresses Zaatari’s early desire to examine and document the everyday, and how that impulse today shapes Zaatari’s approach to filmmaking and its examination of the act of image-making during times of war. 

Akram Zaatari considers the idea of closure, both physical and symbolic, in the Middle East as a product of the increasingly pervasive militarization of public life and its attendant mechanisms of segmentation and restriction via borders and checkpoints.  In an attempt to situate the videos in Radical Closure within a broader historical context, Zaatari references Jean-Luc Godard’s questioning of the theatricality commonly employed in the articulation of the discourse of resistance a

Gene Youngblood discusses George Kuchar’s weather diaries in relation to Thoreau’s Walden and Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground.  Youngblood sees Kuchar’s use of kitsch, melodrama, first-person cinema and subjective narrative as a postmodern continuation of Dostoyevsky’s anticipation of Modernism’s dominant themes of isolation, alienation, communicative instability and the inauthenticity of modern society.

Monica McTighe discusses the importance of the quotidian in the work of Keith Jerome Everson, and positions Everson's interest in repetitive gestures in relation to Richard Serra’s use of repetition in his process-based artworks.

Scott MacDonald speaks with Peggy Ahwesh about the prominence of experimental film in Pittsburgh, working for George Romero, Lacanian psychoanalysis, Kurt Kren’s importance to Ahwesh’s development as a filmmaker and the excitement of creating ambiguous cinematic spaces of meaning.

Yates Mckee considers Paul Chan’s Tin Drum Trilogy as psychogeographical urban portraits that critically examine the roles that social conservatism and religious fundamentalism play in current global conflicts.  Aligning this endeavor with the concept of post-secularism, a ‘religion without religion’ that nonetheless perceives the presence of the spiritual in all things, Mckee frames Chan’s work as a reconsideration of the effectiveness of Enlightenment-era rationalism and its secula

Referring to Guillermo Gómez-Peña as a ‘transnational post-Mexican Aztec-cyborg,’ Carol Becker discusses Gómez-Peña’s desire to repudiate the commonly perceived one-dimensional character of North American cultural identity and to combat this reductive compartmentalization by confronting us with the gray area of cultural identity that is excluded and undermined by normative descriptive categories.  Particular attention is paid to his use of linguistic site specificity during his performances, in which his use of Spanglish address

Scott Durham analyzes the themes of documentation, fiction and the archive in Daniel Eisenberg’s postwar trilogy.  This is done by examining Eisenberg’s Persistence, in which he films the offices of the Stasi headquarters in former East Berlin which housed a reportedly 200 km long row of surveillance files documenting the comings and goings of East German citizens.  In this building documentation was used to produce an archival fiction, ju

Carrie Lambert examines the development of Yvonne Rainer’s interest in the human body as an object, and charts her transition from the humanism of Martha Graham’s expressionist approach to dance to a more impersonal and noncommunicative minimal approach.  Lambert believes Rainer’s Five Easy Pieces reflects Rainer on the cusp of this transition as she moves from choreography to filmmaking.  Trio A

In this interview from 2007, Henricks and Hoolboom discuss the atmosphere of euphoria surrounding the early days of video media usage in the mid-1960s.

This group of short essays details the work of Tom Rubnitz and one of his frequent subjects, Jibz Cameron.  Cameron’s performance as alter-ego Dynasty Handbag is discussed in terms of its eschewing of the interiority of the performer, and in performing the subject in favor of assuming what Lubin-Levy refers to as "cyber-personalities".  It is these cyber-personalities that are at play in Rubnitz’s work, where his performers oscillate between absurdity and vulnerability, while also min

In Consuming Passions, Seid considers Cuevas’s technique of fusing pastiche with diaristic self-presentation.  Cuevas’s work is presented as a mash-up that creates hybrid structures that blur the line between local and exotic.  This idea of blurring the divide between local and exotic is reiterated by Cuevas’s interest in consumer culture and the homogenizing and unifying effects of globalization.