Memory

1997
Persistence

"Persistence was shot in 1991-92 in Berlin, and edited with films by U.S. Signal Corps cameramen in 1945-46, obtained from Department of Defense archives. Interspersed through these materials are filmic quotations from Rossellini's Germany Year Zero (1946). A meditation on the time just after a great historical event, about what is common to moments such as these—the continuous and discontinuous threads of history—and our attachment to cinematic modes of observation that, by necessity, shape our view of events.

2008
Pictographic Piles

As I rummage through a stack of photos the memories of this and that plus who’s what and where rush in helter skelter. There’s a lot to swallow on screen and off (most of it from Oriental kitchens) but there are dashes of the even more exotic as the viewer glimpses renderings of the indigestible here and there (but mostly above and beyond!).

2015
A Pilot For A Show About Nowhere

A Pilot For A Show About Nowhere is a two-channel video that examines the politics of television viewership, incorporating footage from a number of sources to create a plurivocal narrative. 

2007
Plot Point

The crowded streets of New York City turn into fictive, cinematographic scenery. Provost is playing with our collective memory, its cinematic codes and narrative languages - questioning the boundaries between a staged, suggested reality and authentic fiction. Although filmed with a hidden camera, Plot Point presents a highly dramatic construction with overly sophisticated images and a subtle but tangible urge in the soundtrack.

2008
Ponytail

This feature-length video follows several inflicted characters and recounts the ways in which they find resolve. A series of entropic scenarios held together by an attraction to failure and its spectacle describe the characters' malfunction - their inability to fulfill personal desire. Compelled by the consequences and rewards of their attempts they question their own trajectory. Using elements of melodrama, performative monologue and traditional narrative structure Ponytail presents a unique society of characters that destroy the distinction between memory and invention.

1995
A Prayer for Nettie

A Prayer For Nettie dramatizes the death of an elderly woman who was Cumming’s photographic model from 1982 to 1993, presenting an improvised series of prayers and memorials for Nettie Harris by people who knew her, and some who did not. In its ambiguous mix of tenderness and aggression, A Prayer For Nettie extends the traditions of the grotesque and the absurd. The fervent prayers of the actors are undermined by indifference, forgetfulness, and the presence of the camera. In the end, comedy turns the tables on piety and remembrance as Nettie looks up from the grave.

2007
Respite

Respite consists of silent black-and-white films shot at Westerbork, a Dutch refugee camp established in 1939 for Jews fleeing Germany. In 1942, after the occupation of Holland, its function was reversed by the Nazis and it became a 'transit camp.'  In 1944, the camp commander commissioned a film, shot by a photographer, Rudolph Breslauer.

2016
Sea is History

The Sea is History, made in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is a free adaptation of the poem by Derek Walcott.

1995
Shimmer

"Look at a landscape and imagine a different one there. Touch the body and let it slip from memory. Imagine a desert when what you see is winter. The filmmaker evokes a territory where fragile shifts—the links between things, emotions, and places—materialize and dematerialize."

—Nicole Gingras

This title is also available on Nelson Henricks Videoworks: Volume 1.

1988
Daniel Reeves, Sombra y Sombra

An example of what Reeves terms “video poetics,” layered images of a deserted village in the Spanish countryside play counterpoint to poetry by Cesar Vallejo and Pablo Neruda. Using slick production techniques, Reeves marks the passing of time and human presence with a video transparency effect. What we see is a ghost of what was. Reeves’s precise editing makes for an extraordinarily fluid tape, as images seem to fly through the landscape, through past, present and future.

1999
Some Chance Operations

Shot in Naples, Vienna, and New York, Some Chance Operations explores the notion of an archival form, in this instance film, as an unstable memory receptacle that can vanish. History and how it is made is meditated upon as one of many chance operations. The filmmaker Elvira Notari, who had a film production company in Naples from 1906 to 1930, plays a significant role as an impetus for Some Chance Operations. Despite the fact that she was a prolific filmmaker, producing over sixty feature films, only three remain intact.

2013
Spring Lake, by Liza Bear

A minimal, suggestive narrative about a summer trip to the Jersey Shore, fictionalized by subtraction. The film combines still photos, moving image, and precise sound design with barely perceptible animation to create a subliminal effect, and an ambivalence about what's remembered and what's imagined.

— Liza Bear

2019
A State of Grace, John Smith

A biblical interpretation of airline safety instructions.

2016
Steven Go Get Me A Switch

Told through the voices of three elderly South Carolinian's who reside in the homes in which they were born, Steven Go Get Me A Switch is an oral history mapping dichotomies of gender, familial mythologies, sexuality, and belief. A heavy use of symbolism comingles with suggestions of narrative proof. The desire to be good and the impossibility of such desire becomes a sharp inaudible pitch, like a dog whistles call to violence.