In 50 Blue a young man (the artist’s brother) pushes an elderly disabled man (the artist’s father) in a wheel chair through a muddy landscape. It is a long and exhausting trip to an unknown destination only discovered at the end. After an arduous struggle the two arrive at the edge of a grey lake where a 10-meter high guard tower stands. The young man ties the wheel chair to a rope and hoists the old man up on the tower platform with the help of eight men, all dressed in yellow plastic raincoats.
This music video for the band Julie Ruin, fronted by Kathleen Hanna, formerly of Bikini Kill, critiques the cynical music marketeers of corporate America. Criticism particularly targets campaigns aimed at women, which Benning and Hanna refer to here as the "Girls Rule (kind of) Strategy."
Affected and/or Effected begins with a close-up of a girl resting her head on her hand, reading. On the overlapping track a male voice states “affected,"—followed by a female voice that responds “and/or effected….” This pattern of dividing words in half and presenting them in alternating male and female voices continues throughout the video. While what is seen is separated from what is heard, the boundaries between the audio and video portions of the piece are complicated by other sounds. The statement of intent is spoken: "An artist may construct an art.
Trans filmmaker Jules Rosskam's against a trans narrative is a provocative and personal experimental documentary investigating dominant constructions of trans-masculine identity, gender, and the nature of community.
By sensitively framing the film through his own personal journey within the trans-masculine community, Rosskam creates an electric and original investigation into gender politics and social self-identity.
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.
This project on family violence, spanned two years and several sites across the country, and involved wrecked cars in sculptural installations. The cars were reconfigured by women and children who suffered violence at the hands of loved ones. Linked to each other through common experience, women from a domestic violence shelter in Pittsburgh, a family violence program at Bedford Hills prison, children from shelters in Niagara Falls and Cleveland, teenage girls in Oakland, and politicians on Staten Island all collaborated in making the cars.
The image comes up suddenly and then continues unwavering: a young person (Mirra) dressed in a black watchcap and pea coat stands at the edge of a large body of water and sings a sea shanty, occasionally flinching to emphasize certain lyrics or fend off the steady drizzle of rain. The frame is broken up into simple shapes—sea, sky, hat, face, coat—and the longer Mirra sings, the more rain collects on the lens of the camera—threatening to obliterate the subject into the background of sea and sky.
In this angry answer to the expectations advertsing culture places on women and their bodies, Tanaka deftly edits commercial images and sound-bite slogans to underscore the message such images carry: that women exist to please men, as wives, mothers, and lovers. Tanaka balances such mainstream images with black and white footage of herself lying naked next to her own doubled image, rejecting the mainstream model of female sexuality that regularly consists of seductive glances and suggestive poses arranged and pre-ordained for the male gaze of the spectator.
In a form of subversive media terrorism, BLO operatives purchased talking Barbie and G.I. Joe dolls, both of which were programmed to speak crude cultural clichés. The dolls were then taken to the BLO headquarters where “corrective surgery” was performed: switching the dolls’ voice boxes.
The two Social Studies videos call into question fundamental assumptions about the cross-purposes of entertainment: to entertain, to present cultural values, to mediate public policies, and to define social relationships.