Health

2001
Habit

Habit is an autobiographical documentary that follows the current history of the AIDS epidemic along dual trajectories: the efforts of South Africa’s leading AIDS activist group, the Treatment Action Campaign, struggling to gain access to AIDS drugs and the daily routine of the videomaker, a veteran AIDS activist in the U.S. who has been living with AIDS for more than ten years.

2005
Hell Hole Hostage

With various trips to the seashore, this summer travelette becomes an inner journey through mythical realms populated by rubberized horrors. The viewer is transported into a caregiver’s nightmare where mother and son share the fruits and bones of undigested demands. These figments of fermented atrocities pile up in a barrage of bestial assaults inflamed into hellish reality by reading material of unwholesome content. Fantasy lumbers into reality with an unrelenting menu of severed ties and familial knots that tighten around the neck of he who dabbles with dementia.

1989
I Need Your Full Cooperation

Juxtaposing feminist readings of medical tracts, narratives of patient treatment and archival footage, I Need Your Full Cooperation reveals the evolution of women’s relationship to modern medicine. The video dramatizes Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “rest cure”, adapting her 1892 story "The Yellow Wallpaper", and includes critical commentary by activist/writer Barbara Ehrenreich and historian Carroll Smith-Rosenberg.

1991
(In) Visible Women

(In) Visible Women shows the heroic responses of three women with AIDS in the context of their respective communities. In the face of adversity, these women confront all aspects of the AIDS crisis in their lives. Through poetry, art, activism, and dance, they explode notions of female invisibility and complacency in the face of AIDS. We hear each woman describe how she came to terms with being HIV+ and joined others in speaking out about the neglected needs of women.

1995
Internal Combustion

This experimental video breaks many the silences surrounding lesbians and AIDS. Interweaving the voices of two friends—an HIV+ Latina lesbian and an HIV- Jewish lesbian—the video juxtaposes two very different yet overlapping experiences. The piece points to the often unspoken tensions occurring within this epidemic—survival and power, mourning and loss.

1971
Jerusalem Tapes: Second Brain, Arab Feedback

During Videofreex member David Cort's travels to Jerusalem, a scene was shot in a hospital where a female patient is having electrodes attached to her body. The cameraman gets on the cot and has the electrodes attached to him as they talk about making a brain feedback machine for use at home. The next scene records the cameraman walking the streets of Jerusalem. People passing by interact with the camera.

1998
Karaoke

An ailing, elderly man listens to a private performance in his room. The singing is a halting mix cross-cultural-Inuktitut and Country & Western. Transgressive and mesmerizing, Karaoke distorts the landscapes of sound and body.

In Inukitut.

This title is also available on Donigan Cumming: Controlled Disturbance and Donigan Cumming Videoworks: Volume 1.

1991
Kepone

Against images of an inventor-chemist juggling brightly colored molecules, psychedelic arms passing out pesticides, and nightmarish landscapes that include trapped live subjects, Oursler presents Hopewell, Virginia—a turn-of-the-century boomtown gone bust, and host to a Kepone pesticide manufacturing plant since 1966. Although Kepone’s extreme toxicity was well established by 1964, production grew and employees continued to be exposed to the carcinogen—eventually poisoning the surrounding area and the James River for years to come.

1994
kore

 

By focusing on the blindfold, kore explores the eye as purveyor of desire, sexual fear, and the fantasy of blindness. An alternative sexuality is founded in touch-based (feminine?) pleasure as opposed to a vision-based (masculine?) pleasure. An examination of institutional blindspots towards women, and people of color, concerning AIDS expands on the issue of vision, visibility and the disease.

This title is also available on Tran, T. Kim-Trang: The Blindness Series.

2002
The Local Sky Enlarger

In this surreal experimental narrative, there’s something wrong with a patch of sky. As it travels over Southern England, objects cast up into it come down hugely enlarged, bloated. Meanwhile in London, the patch is in fact a troubling scab on a crippled old man’s head. As the scab develops, all he can do is wait, going through the changes, led on gently by the idiot-savant son with his childlike multiple identities.

2003
Lock's Way

Locke’s Way is the photographic path to knowledge, full of twists and turns, treacherously steep. What has happened down here? A family’s photographs tell us everything and nothing about the subterranean past. "One of the central questions of philosophy has always been: what can be known? Locke’s Way provides a vivid illustration of this perennial philosophical dilemma. In this short video, Donigan Cumming is preoccupied with the story of his older brother, who seems to have been brain-damaged and spent much of his life in institutions.

1977
Losing: A Conversation with the Parents

Treating the problem of anorexia nervosa from the parents' perspective, Rosler presents a mother and father speaking about the tragedy of their daughter's death as a result of dieting. The conversation turns toward the irony of self-starvation in a land of plenty and toward the international politics of food, where food aid is used as a negotiating tool. Confronting a serious issue, Rosler simultaneously sets into play the confessional form and the ghoulish staginess of talk show dramatics.

1990
Marx: The Video

Kipnis describes this tape as "an appropriation of the aesthetics of both late capitalism and early Soviet cinema—MTV meets Eisenstein—reconstructing Karl Marx for the video age.” She presents a postmodern lecture delivered by a chorus of drag queens on the unexpected corelations between Marx’s theories and the carbuncles that plagued the body of the rotund thinker for over thirty years. Marx’s erupting, diseased body is juxtaposed with the “body politic", and posited as a symbol of contemporary society proceeding the failed revolutions of the late 1960s.

2015

"Every object in the room will outlive him. The aspirin bottle is two hundred miles away and his robe is in another time zone."

—Mike Kuchar

2001
My Dinner with Weegee

In My Dinner With Weegee Donigan Cumming weaves together two life stories. The central figure, a man in his seventies named Marty, remembers his experiences in New York as a young Catholic labour organizer and peace activist, his friendships with David Dellinger, the Berrigan brothers, Bayard Rustin, Weegee, and James Agee. This mixture of first-hand knowledge and gossip brightens Marty’s dark passage—he is old, sick, depressed, and alcoholic.