"For over one hundred years photography and film were the leading media. From the start on they served not only to inform and entertain but were also media of scientific research and documentation. That’s also why these reproduction techniques were associated with notions of objectivity and contemporaneity - whereas images created by drawing and painting indicated subjectivity and the transrational.
The three videos that comprise Jesse McLean Videoworks: Volume 1 (The Eternal Quarter Inch, Somewhere only we know and The Burning Blue) all concern various facets of our complicated emotional and psychological relationships to spectacle.
In Les LeVeque Videoworks: Volume 3, Les LeVeque explores time and the way in which it can be manipulated to affect the communication of emotion. In the first video, pulse pharma phantasm, LeVeque collapses 9 different pharmaceutical commercials into one another to the point that they cease to communicate relaxation or relief and instead create a visual cacophony whose erratic pulsations become almost hallucinatory. LeVeque’s point is to problematize the systematization of appeals to consumers through the use of tropes for the communication of comfort and tranquility.
"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.
Video Data Bank is proud to present the wonderful work of prolific video artist Ximena Cuevas in our latest DVD box set, Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas. This four volume box set features 25 videos by the award-winning artist, spanning 21 years, and is accompanied by a 75-page booklet containing the following essays that examine aspects of Cuevas’s work:
In part a remake of Hollis Frampton’s Gloria! (1979), in part a repurposing of hacked, 16-bit video game technology; The Well of Representation asks us to reconsider our fear of the liminal. Following the convergent narratives of several voices, ranging from the linearly historical to the cybernetically personal, we come to understand the journey ahead: searching from interface to interface, knowing that whatever home we find will be a collaborative compromise. One where we might live beyond our representations and finally come to say what we mean.
We have come to this place of meaning together, celebrating our un-remaindered completeness. Yet, in our wake endures a long procession of stowaways: misspoken sounds we unconsciously omit, the limitations of our alphabet, the ignored gaps of an imperfect analog, and most recently, these forgetful bits of the virtual. We celebrate the lineage of our information as we celebrate one another, not realizing that the loudest affirmations might come from these unacknowledged, unavoidable participants. With each generation, they say a little bit more, speaking a little bit louder.
This program presents different approaches to looking at war, and to using images of war. My Friend Imad and the Taxi is an unfinished work from two amateur filmmakers, both passionate about film, who lived in Beirut in the eighties when the city looked like the set from a war film. Samir’s work looks at the intersection between (H)istory and (h)is story as lived at home.
This first program deals with stories of captivity. To start, Hostage: The Bachar Tapes by Walid Raad presents us with an imagined hostage presumably held in custody along with the American hostages in Lebanon during the 1980’s. Raad’s work reflects on the invention and communication of stories about abduction, insisting on the families’ unity in the face of threats, and reads through the fears and sexual fantasies of the kidnapped Americans who are held in the same cell with a Lebanese man.
HalfLifers is an ongoing collaborative project created by longtime friends and fellow media artists Torsten Zenas Burns and Anthony M. Discenza. Embracing a gestural improvisation-based performance style and championing a rigorously low-fi aesthetic, HalfLifers engages a shifting region of speculative fictions, from play therapy and improvised crisis re-stagings to zombie architectural systems and psychic sandwich surgery.
Like a generation of viewers, I was profoundly affected by Deliverance. But I have always been troubled by the hegemonic structures of gender proposed by Boorman and Dickey. Hence, my version is played by women: myself, Peggy Ahwesh, Jackie Goss, Su Friedrich, and Meredith Root, all experimental filmmakers who work as academics. While faithful to our respective male characters, we also play ourselves.
Magic for Beginners examines the mythologies found in fan culture, from longing to obsession to psychic connections. The need for such connections (whether real or imaginary) as well as the need for an emotional release that only fantasy can deliver is explored.
"Out of the blue, I bought my first television. I kept the TV on all the time."
"Jesse McLean’s 20-minute video Magic for Beginners is an intermittently gripping, psychedelic montage revolving around childhood obsessions with Leonardo DiCaprio and the video game Tron."
"If there's something big, big that you want to reach for, you begin by dreaming." —Ivonne and Ivette
"The discomfort in Sleepworld Volume 1 is that of being oneself. The videos included here look at who we are and what we imagine we are. They are experiments in appearances, about the use of artifice to improve life or hide it. It is a reflection on moral displacement, hypocrisy, self-contained dreams, self-loathing, self-destruction in order to repeatedly kill our dreams.
Les LeVeque’s early works, featured on this compilation, demonstrate his fascination with slowing things down in order to see them better. Found footage, often of key historical moments, are digitally re-edited, slowed down, or encoded into ASCII to highlight underlying meanings and metaphors.
Known for his fast-paced and hilarious videos exploring Hapa identity and Asian American media portrayal, artist Kip Fulbeck has been featured on CNN, MTV and PBS. A professor of Art at UCSB, he exhibits and performs throughout the world and is the author of several books.
Volume 2 includes: Some Questions for 28 Kisses, Asian Studs Nightmare, Sweet or Spicy?, Sex, Love & Kung Fu, L.A. Christmas, Nine Fish, Vicki in 3:30 and Special Features.