"Inspired by Ralph Hocking's fish biting video. Eighty-seven stones thrown, volumes shifting of water sound, a real time performance event. Holding the camera and throwing 87 stones into the frame. 1/2" reel to reel Sony portapack."
In 50 Blue a young man (the artist’s brother) pushes an elderly disabled man (the artist’s father) in a wheel chair through a muddy landscape. It is a long and exhausting trip to an unknown destination only discovered at the end. After an arduous struggle the two arrive at the edge of a grey lake where a 10-meter high guard tower stands. The young man ties the wheel chair to a rope and hoists the old man up on the tower platform with the help of eight men, all dressed in yellow plastic raincoats.
We asked 12 people to walk 4 identical routes through the course of a day and a night, always attempting to repeat the manner of the first time. As they moved they concentrated on their steps and their rhythm and the repetition immunized them from having to make sense of their movements. They moved as if consumed by a single thought. Unaware of the passage of time. They re-ran the night during the day, and mixed the darkness with the light.
The sense that you are about to be shown something wrong lingers throughout this bizarre semi-narrative. Appropriated imagery of natural disasters, paper crafts, mutated animals, abject beauty and genocide form an exquisite corpse of uncanny connectivity with chirrupy 1950s advertising music or romantic classical. Is this a test?
In this interview, American filmmaker, teacher, and video artist Peggy Ahwesh (b.1954) delves into the key figures and primary texts that have inspired her work in Super-8 and video since the 1970s. She discusses her early influences as a member of the underground art scenes in Pittsburgh in the late 70s and Soho’s Kitchen in the 80s. Ahwesh’s experimental hand-processing and controversial subject matter can be traced to feminist theory, and her exposure to underground experimental films, including works by Werner Herzog, George Amaro, Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith and her teacher at Antioch College, Tony Conrad.
This humorous selection of performance-oriented videos maps a trajectory between consumer society and psychoanalytic confession. HalfLifers perform two rescue missions using colored snack food and everyday objects as means towards transcendence. In The Horror, Emily Breer and Joe Gibbons recuperate Coppola’s Apocalypse Now as a day at the beach. Gibbons’s solo work Multiple Barbie features the artist as a smooth-talking psychoanalyst, gently attempting to fuse the mute doll’s shattered plastic psyche.
Animal Attraction is a documentary about the relationship between people and animals that questions the way we project our hopes and desires onto our pets, and ascribe human qualities and attributes to their gestures. The video was inspired by the plight of the filmmaker who was frustrated by the obnoxious behavior of her cat, Ernie. As a last resort, she gave in to a friend's suggestion to contact an animal communicator. This is her journey with interspecies telepathic communicator, Dawn Hayman, from Spring Farm CARES, an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.
An episodic adventure highlighting the riff between mind and body. Through a series of animated narratives, role reversals and associations, images are driven out and stacked one on top another. "A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have. But I'm beginning to wonder if he knows something the rest of us don't."
This project on family violence, spanned two years and several sites across the country, and involved wrecked cars in sculptural installations. The cars were reconfigured by women and children who suffered violence at the hands of loved ones. Linked to each other through common experience, women from a domestic violence shelter in Pittsburgh, a family violence program at Bedford Hills prison, children from shelters in Niagara Falls and Cleveland, teenage girls in Oakland, and politicians on Staten Island all collaborated in making the cars.
"John Smith uses humour to repeatedly subvert and frustrate potentially threatening content in an economically constructed tale of the narrator’s descent into paranoia and, ultimately, oblivion, as he is pursued, haunted, and finally destroyed by a mysterious peripatetic black tower. Throughout, both verbal and visual imagery are low key to the point of banality; shots of familiar inner city landscapes—terraces, tower-blocks and scruffy wastelands—are set against a narrative that is laconic and bathetic in the best traditions of English suburban comedy.