In this interview, American filmmaker, teacher, and video artist Peggy Ahwesh (b.1954) delves into the key figures and primary texts that have inspired her work in Super-8 and video since the 1970s. She discusses her early influences as a member of the underground art scenes in Pittsburgh in the late 70s and Soho’s Kitchen in the 80s. Ahwesh’s experimental hand-processing and controversial subject matter can be traced to feminist theory, and her exposure to underground experimental films, including works by Werner Herzog, George Amaro, Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith and her teacher at Antioch College, Tony Conrad.
A portrait of an unnamed city in Italy. Sidestepping the tourist attractions that make the city famous, the film/video posits an almost-imaginary place that draws closer to the reality of its inhabitants. Using a voiceover narration that collages direct observation, literary texts, historical fact, local folklore, and a bit of sheer fabrication, the film/video melds documentary and narrative, past and present.
Images from magazines and color supplements accompany a spoken text taken from Herbert H. Clark’s “Word Associations and Linguistic Theory” (in New Horizons in Linguistics, ed. John Lyons,1970). By using the ambiguities inherent in the English language, Associations sets language against itself. Image and word work together and against each other to destroy and create meaning.
"A film about the time of the blast furnaces--1917-1933--about the development of an industry, about a perfect machinery which had to run itself to the point of its own destruction. This essay... on heavy industry and the gas of the blast furnace, convinces through the author's cool abstraction and manic obsession, and through the utilization of a single example of the self-destructive character of capitalistic production: 'The image of the blast furnace gas is real and metaphoric; an energy blows away uselessly into the air. Guided through a system of pipes, the pressure increases.
"I don't put myself into my movies because that would be too much--my pictures reflect my own feelings. So hopefully it's entertaining. Otherwise I can't bear looking at them, ha ha!" --Mike Kuchar
In this dream-portrait of Mike Kuchar, he floats through his memories as the sea, space and sky drift past. Wrapped in odd costumes, he frolics with the imaginary creatures surrounding him, and recalls the creatures of his own imagination.
"In the late 1980s I saw ads in New York for a telephone 'Confession Line'. To call in and 'confess' was free; listening in incurred a by-the-minute charge. The soundtrack was built from a collection of these actual, anonymous calls. Adultery, theft, and regret; ghosts spun through phone wires and televisions. An installation version was created for the 1992 Worldwide Video Festival (Amsterdam).
Moving towards an unknown destination, a group of anonymous passengers float through an unidentified landscape. Built from Cohen’s archive documenting his travels, the film can be seen as a curious parable. The film's subheading refers to the Old Testament, Daniel chapter 11, verse 40: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”
Blind Huber is a film interpretation of a poem by the American writer Nick Flynn loosely based on the life of Francois Huber, the blind 18th Century beekeeper, who sat before a series of hives for fifty years unlocking an unknown world.
Written by Nick Flynn. Cinematographer: Alex Stockwell.
Kevin Jerome Everson’s prolific body of work is grounded in formalism and combines scripted and documentary elements. The subject matter is the gestures or tasks caused by certain conditions in the lives of African-Americans and people of African descent, often working class. The conditions are usually physical, social and economic circumstances, or weather. His films suggest the relentlessness of everyday life--along with its beauty--and present oblique metaphors for art making.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT/SUMMARY: This film centers around one performance, when Holland-based musicians, The Ex, visited New York to play a concert. This performance is intercut with city scenes, first from Amsterdam and then New York, of construction sites, street life, and protests against the Iraq war and the Bush administration. The construction site scenes relate to the band's dedication to music as a realm for collaborative building and creative destruction.
"A meditation on history, memory, and change in Central and Eastern Europe, Buried in Light is a non-narrative journey, a cinematic collage. Cohen’s “search for images” began at a time of extraordinary flux, as the Berlin Wall was dismantled—opening borders yet ushering in a nascent wave of consumer capitalism. What he saw struck him as a profound paradox: the moment Eastern Europe was revealed was simultaneously the moment it was hidden by the blinding light of commercialism.