Mental Landscape

2013
Basma Alsharif, Home Movies Gaza

Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a mircrocosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity.

"... Basma Alsharif’s Home Movies Gaza, a film that captures the impossibly politicized domestic sphere of the Gaza Strip, under the constant hum and buzz of overhead drones."

2004
How to Fix the World

Adapted from psychologist A.R. Luria’s research in the Islamic outskirts of the Soviet Union in the 1930s, How to Fix the World brings to life Luria's conversations with Central Asian farmers learning how to read and write under the unfamiliar principles of Socialism.

Colorful digital animations based on Max Penson's photographs of collective farmers play against a backdrop of landscape images shot in Uzbekistan in 2004.

2002
In Order Not To Be Here

An uncompromising look at the ways privacy, safety, convenience and surveillance determine our environment. Shot entirely at night, the film confronts the hermetic nature of white-collar communities, dissecting the fear behind contemporary suburban design. An isolation-based fear (protect us from people not like us). A fear of irregularity (eat at McDonalds, you know what to expect). A fear of thought (turn on the television). A fear of self (don’t stop moving).

2012
Jesse McLean, The Invisible World

A deceased hoarder, reconstituted through technology, recounts a difficult childhood as inhabitants of a virtual world struggle to reconcile materialistic tendencies. A scientist leads an effort to understand the passage of time, but the data is unreliable. The question remains, what happens to our things after we are gone?

2006
It Hurts

The repeatedly distorted, primate behaviour of an (ani)female carrying her baby, reflecting the pain and suffering provoked by the mother/child relationship.

2005
Miranda July Videoworks: Volume 1

Four short videos by artist Miranda July, covering the period 1996 to 2001.

2013
Jesse McLean, Just Like Us

A familiar landscape comprised of big box stores and parking lots proves a rich site for longing, intimacy, and radical change. Celebrities are observed in this environment and are reduced to ordinary beings in the process. An enigmatic protagonist reveals little moments of subjectivity that escape into the piece like a contaminant, rupturing the view and evidencing the paradox of connection and belonging within systems that simultaneously contain us and comprise us.

1979
The Laughing Alligator

The personal odyssey recorded in The Laughing Alligator combines methods of anthropological research with diaristic essay, mixing objective and subjective vision. Recorded while Downey and his family were living among the Yanomami people of Venezuela, this compelling series of anecdotes tracks his search for an indegenous cultural identity.

2015

In the film Mad Ladders, the prophetic ramblings of an unseen narrator recount fantastical dreams of the coming Rapture, as crystalline imagery of rolling clouds gives way to heavily-processed video of moving stage sets from The American Music Awards telecasts of the 1980s and early 1990s. Blooming and pulsing in and out of geometric abstraction, this swirling storm of rising curtains, spinning set pieces, and unveiled pop idols forms an occult spectacle, driven by its impassioned narrator and an 8-bit leitmotif.

1984
Made For TV

Combining Rubnitz’s skillful manipulation of the familiar “look” of TV shows with an extraordinary range of characters, performer Ann Magnuson convincingly impersonates the array of female types seen on TV in a typical broadcast day. From glitzy to drab, from friendly housewife to desperate evangelist, Magnuson is a one-woman universe appearing on every channel, the star of every program—giving her all as the chameleon woman who is always on display.

2016
Sara Magenheimer: An Interview

Sara Magenheimer earned her MFA at Bard in 2013 and has since shown her work internationally in Canada, Iceland, the Czech Republic, and Denmark. Her cross-disciplinary practice plays with the juxtaposition between the form and content of language, exposing the absurdity of expected meanings.

2005
Mama

"Mama mama mama...," a woman calls out again and again, over and over. Is it her child that she mimics, or is she calling for her own mother? A desperate video performance in the first person.

2008
The Man Who Went Outside

A distinguished looking man (performance artist Richard Layzell) is apparently trapped in an ever changing void of colour, locked in a power play with a perversely operated camera. A mute, caged, charismatic TV presenter he is by turns charming, menacing, educational, confused. At times he appears to have great powers. A voice over tells us extraordinary things - how this man is special - the first man to 'have a baby'. Hallucinogenic flash-frames punctuate the colour field to give us a view of his world's disturbing and alien futuristic logic.

1989
Martina's Playhouse

“In Martina’s Playhouse everything is up for grabs. The little girl of the title oscillates from narrator to reader to performer and from the role of baby to that of mother. While the roles she adopts may be learned, they are not set, and she moves easily between them. Similarly, in filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh’s playhouse of encounters with friends, objects aren’t merely objects but shift between layers of meaning. Men are conspicuously absent, a ‘lack’ reversing the Lacanian/Freudian constructions of women as Ahwesh plays with other possibilities."

1990
Marx: The Video

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.