City

2015
Memory Palace

Memory Palace is a short video grounded in the personal history of the artist. A discovery of a photo album activates memories of physical spaces, which in turn open doors to reminiscences of past family life. Inspired by the classical method of loci, the film presents a woman — singer/songwriter Alice Smith — at work in Los Angeles.

2000
Metropolitan Monologues

The New York City summer is fueled by the sultry emanations of hot air that tumble off the tongues of potential thespians as they attempt to decipher the gastric guesswork embedded in the prose of the pre-production process. The video camera flits across the boroughs of NYC in a splash-dash sojourn of sumptuous banquets and bohemian bombast, while the down-to-earth wisdom of the seeing impaired helps to guide the protagonist into detours of wisdom befitting his putrid project.

1989
Migraton of the Blubberoids

A chance to view the upper Bronx as a mantle of whiteness cloaks its natural splendor like icing on a cake and things all blubbery bob to the surface for air and a sniff of the "good life."

1970
Videofreex, Money

Taped on Prince Street in Soho, New York, Skip Blumberg creates a one-word performance.  Shouting the word "Money" over and over, he attracts the attentions of New York's finest. 

2005
Music Works

This compilation features 11 of Jem Cohen's collaborations with musicians. Made on 16mm, Super 8 and Video, the works include the music of R.E.M., Gil Shaham and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Void, Elliot Smith, Jonathan Richman, Miracle Legion and Olivier Messiaen.

Nightswimming

1989
New York Day and Night: A Journey through Light and Darkness

This is not a sight-seeing film, but a poetic journey through light and darkness reflected on the city of New York, where I often found empty spaces and times like Ma in Japanese.  You do not often see the people walking on the streets or in the buildings, but you may feel the air and the light coming and going.  It's not a deserted city, but a city full of energy that is there even without the people.  You see the wind is blowing as the bubbles are floating over Wall Street, then up, up to the sky.  The Sun sets under the Washington Bridge, where all the cars are runnin

2005
New York, New York

A montage of architecture and cabaret, juxtaposing a second hand view of New York as refracted through this artist's eyes.

This title is also available on Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas.

2009
Night Scene New York

Chance observations of New York's Chinatown, commissioned by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas. 

"A sleepwalker's circumnavigation of one of the less homogenized parts of the city."

--Jem Cohen

2002
No Damage

No Damage is a composition made out of fragments from over 80 different feature and documentary films that show the architecture of New York City--its architectural presence as captured on film over eight decades. Lifted out of their original context and juxtaposed in groups, these scenes reveal their emotional implications: grandeur, glamour, the wake of modernism, post-modernism and, most recently, post 9/11 sentimentalism. A number of particular clips that resonate such emotions enter into a non-verbal discourse on age, status, functionality and aesthetics.

2002
Nocturne

Nocturne is a 5-minute film shot entirely at night in deserted streets of London. The film attempts to find images of the city that reveal the presence of the past, or the presence of the dead, hinting at a concealed history. The deserted streets around the east end of London and Docklands reflect an echoic city filled with shadows. Nocturne is composed of long static viewpoints, each shot slowly unfolding in time as though by looking long enough the city's secrets will be revealed.

2006
NYC Weights and Measures

My film is a simple gathering of New York City street footage.  It was shot with a spring-wound 16mm Bolex on, above, and below the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn and includes footage of the ticker tape parade for astronaut John Glenn.

2007
O'Malley's Head #2

In 1998 I made a sculpture of a decapitated head. I featured it in a photo and video. I thought of the head as a character whose adventures would be documented. The name O’Malley was inspired by Chicago’s Irish heritage (I was living in Chicago then). O’Malley’s Head Part 1 was a photo of the head placed on top of the garbage cans in the alley behind my apartment building. I lived right by an exit ramp from the Kennedy Expressway, one of the last before you reached downtown from O’Hare Airport. Sometimes people would exit there and dump things.

2006
O.U.T. Operation Urban Terrain

O.U.T. is a work documenting the emergence of computer games which train players to fight in cities among civilians, (Military Operations in Urban Terrain). O.U.T. contains sampled footage and machinima (stories told with video games) from five military simulation games. Following is a documentation of the performance, (Operation Urban Terrain), an urban wireless intervention by Anne-Marie Schleiner and an international cast of game expert and art activist collaborators.

1997
ocularis

This video highlights several narratives concerning video surveillance—not to reiterate the conventional privacy argument but rather to engage the desire to watch surveillance materials and society’s insatiable voyeurism. A variety of subjects recount their interactions with surveillance—getting caught in the act of stealing or watching pornography, being discouraged from making an illegal ATM withdrawal—and question technological determinism, asking whether we choose to develop technology or technology shapes our choices.

2016
ON ESSEX ROAD

A watchful dog in a confusion of reflected chairs begins and ends Cohen’s finely tuned observational portrait of London’s Essex Street, and the inhabitants who work the shops and throng the pavement there. People hurrying, pausing, waiting or simply standing, intermingled with worn statues of historic peerage in the slanted light of late afternoon. A man holds a copy of The Law of Privacy and the Media as though testing its resilience against the quiet onslaught of an average work day.