A woman survives a clinical death in 1988 and wakes up hearing voices in her head. Samuel, a spirit, has started to speak through her. People identify her as a medium. Samuel proclaims a mission to save the world before the year 2012. The entity's name soon changes from Samuel to EN K1, a Sumerian God who claims to be the father of the human race.
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.
This 12-minute video by Tom Palazzolo and Chicago writer Jack Helbig tells the story of the recently discovered Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier. Though she was unknown in her lifetime, her extensive body of work is rewriting the history of post-World War II American street photography. The video, told from the point of view of Maier herself, recounts her life and work, from her childhood in France to her move to NYC in 1951 and subsequent relocation to Chicago, where the majority of her work was done.
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.
Shot over one day, this program records the events and protests in Washington DC on May Day, 1971. This was the day when one of the most disruptive actions of the Vietnam War era occurred in Washington, DC, when thousands of anti-war activists tried to shut down the Federal government in protest at the War.
A feel for the mood in the city is gained during the first half of the video with shots of the city from a moving car in traffic. Protestors, city residents, and police are captured on tape, along with exciting and moving shots of the day's actions and arrests.
Jacqueline Goss and Jenny Perlin retrace the journey of two 18th-century astronomers tasked with determining the true length of the meter. From the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel, The Measures explores the metric system’s origins during the violence and upheavals of the French Revolution. Along the way, Goss and Perlin consider the intertwining of political and personal turmoil, the failures of standardization, and the subtleties of collaboration.
Lars Movin presents a video portrait of artists who have radically disrupted our conception of art since the 1960s. A large part of the video was made in Venice in 1990, when many of the original Fluxus artists met to hold a large exhibition in connection with the Biennale. The tape includes interviews with most of the leading Fluxus artists, documentation of their works, and clips from videos and films made during the 30 years of this ungovernable art form.
The Nazi-Loop ponders the horror of the Holocaust and the social diseases that characterized it: ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and anti-semitism. Images and text from Weimar and Nazi Germany are woven into a complex montage, which includes representations of contemporary neo-Nazism and those who oppose it. Also woven in are essays by social thinkers that reflect upon the meaning of the historical horror of the Holocaust. The Nazi-Loop suggests that the obsessive ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism of past times and places is cyclical and present, here and now.
In 1973 Joan Nestle co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives, an essential collection of documents, writings, and artifacts of lesbian cultural history. In 1979 she began writing erotic stories and has published two collections of writings: A Restricted Country (1987) and A Fragile Union (1998). She took a controversial stance in opposition to the 1980s feminist anti-pornography movement, thus becoming a fervent pro-sex activist in the “Sex Wars.” Interview by Nina Levitt.
Footage of a May 1970 rally featuring political speakers, including members of the Black Panther Party. Abbie Hoffman talks about fighting imperialism at home, and the Chicago 7 Conspiracy Trial. As the crowd chants “Free Bobby Seale,” the Videofreex attempt to interview several National Guardsmen. We see young black men talking to the troops, with one man telling a Guardsman, “I’ve got nothing... I went to Vietnam for you."
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.
Now Let Us Praise American Leftists is an experimental video animation that seeks to eulogize and ridicule the American leftist movement of the past century. Foregrounding the exclusionary nature of American leftist politics, and its persistent refusal to allow more diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation to enter into the larger political daialogue, the video presents representations of American leftists as they are: men with mustaches.
Juxtaposing the text of Off Limits, a film made in 1987 about Saigon circa 1968, with the soundtrack and image of the last five minutes of Easy Rider, made in 1968, Tajiri parallel edits these representations to play with the evocation and emptiness of the image. Tajiri blacks out the screen image of Easy Rider while the words of a Vietnamese assassin crawl up the screen, building a structure of selective memory. Tajiri’s Off Limits points to the similarities and contradictions between 1960s hippie iconography and memories of the Vietnam War.
In okay bye-bye, so named for what Cambodian children shouted to the U.S. ambassador in 1975 as he took the last helicopter out of Phnom Phenh in advance of the Khmer Rouge, Rebecca Baron explores the relationship of history to memory.