The Disappointment: Or, The Force of Credulity is a documentary about the search for four lost treasures buried on a single farm in Missouri. These treasures include a Spanish explorer's gold, silver from the Civil War, mysterious stone carvings, lost texts, and a wife's attempt to heal her husband and protect herself and her children. Part personal documentary and part historical essay, The Disappointment traces the patterns of cultural forgetting etched in the landscape of the Austin Farm.
This film uses the ‘old fashioned’ conventions of documentary film practice to stand history on its head. There is a narration taken from a radio lecture by Claude Lévi-Strauss entitled, “The Meeting of Myth and Science,” images from the Deutsche Wochenshau of June 25, 1940 that recorded Hitler’s dawn visit to Paris, images from American newsreels, a movement from one of Beethoven’s Rasumovsky Quartets. The film could only succeed, in my mind, if the imprint of prior usage of all elements was clear.
In this interview, political and social theorist, Terry Eagleton (b. 1943), shares stories of his Irish upbringing and British education, and sums up his current engagement with art theory, leftist politics, and spirituality under capitalism. With reference to Henry James, Frederic Jameson, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins, among others, this interview spans a vast landscape of literature and social theory.
El Zócalo is an observational portrait of Mexico City’s central Plaza de la Constitutión during one day in August. Soldiers, Aztec dancers, clowns, food vendors, protestors, rain, dogs, tourists, kites, balloons, and dignitaries all meet in the public space of the Zócalo. This documentary presents daily life in one of the largest and most vibrant urban centers in the world, but it begins with a dream of history and ends with a dream of the space full of people for a Zapatista rally.
Video Data Bank is proud to present a compilation of celebrated titles by the artist Elisabeth Subrin, featuring four award-winning video works: Swallow (1995), Shulie (1997), The Fancy (2000), and Well, Well, Well (2002), each of which engage conventions of documentary and experimental narrative. Available together for the first time, these conceptual projects work strategically to undermine their own forms, shifting historical periods, genres and identifications to explore the nature of psychological "disorder," the residual impact of feminism and
"Living on the slopes of the volcano Vesuvius is a strange contradiction: always in stress and yet also sleepy, waiting for what might happen. In close cooperation with the Osservatorio Vesuviano and several inhabitants of the 'Red Zone' of the volcano, Rosa Barba constructs a lyrical portrait of this area, which shelters Mafia members and illegal Chinese immigrants. Historic footage, measurements, maps and aerial shots try to capture what is always uncertain."
Irreverent yet poignant, The Eternal Frame is a re-enactment of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as seen in the famous Zapruder film. This home movie was immediately confiscated by the FBI, yet found its way into the visual subconscious of the nation. The Eternal Frame concentrates on this event as a crucial site of fascination and repression in the American mindset.
"The intent of this work was to examine and demystify the notion of the presidency, particularly Kennedy, as image archetype...."
A woman recounts her story of the mass exodus of Palestinians from Jerusalem. Beginning with the arrival and ending with the departure, the tale moves backwards in time and through various landscapes. The events are neither undone nor is the story untold; instead, Farther than the eye can see traces a decaying experience to a place that no longer exists.
"On January 22, 1987 an unjustly convicted Budd Dwyer grasped onto the pages of his final speech as Pennsylvania's State Treasurer before shooting himself in front of news cameras. Our current year of armageddon, recession, and occupation resonates as a fitting time to step into Budd's shoes (and perhaps others who sought freedom the same way.) I set up a mini news conference with antiquated, glitchy analog cameras, mixers, players, and decks with the goal of recording Budd's speech in one take.
I just got this tattoo--you can see it's still healing, the edges are raised like some sort of fancy business card--to mark the completion of this, Series One of my on-going project, Final Thoughts. So, on one wrist, facing fistward, a skull and, on the other, still tender and healing, a ghost. Let them be the mascots for the series, little cartoony avatars.
Jim Finn’s films and videos have been described as “Utopian comedies.” In the four works that comprise Jim Finn Videoworks: Volume 2, the comedy that emerges through Finn's (not so) exaggerated interrogation of the products and symbols of authoritarian State identity gives way to a more solemn and ominous look at the machinations of the State as it seeks the domination and pacification of its publics.
This installation is based on the re-enactment of Franz Kafka’s allegory "Before the Law", interpreted live over a telephone line by Katharine Gun. Gun was a translator (specializing in Chinese to English translations), working with the British secret service, who chose to leak information compromising the U.S. and U.K. governments in their push for a U.N. resolution for the invasion of Iraq.
Michel Foucault was one of the most influential philosophers and cultural historians of the 20th Century, reconceiving power and identities as historically specific social relations and discourses. His studies challenged the works of Marx and Freud, offering new understandings of institutional practices and their effects on the human body and psyche in his studies of prisons, mental illness, medicine, and sexuality.