A Videofreex performance. Bart Friedman plays the pump organ and David Cort sings. He asks Bart to "Play something that I can laugh to," and much laughter ensues. Then, "because of American society," there is a sad song, and much wailing ensues.
Lesser Apes tells the story of a love affair between a primatologist, Farrah, and a female bonobo ape, Meema. Bonobos are the species with which humans share the most DNA, but unlike our species, they are matriarchal, live without conflict, and are unabashedly sexual. A paean to perversion, the film combines animation, live action and song to challenge attitudes about sex, language and our relationship to nature.
“The 1972 Women’s Video Festival [at the Kitchen] opened with an award-winning short by Steina Vasulka. Featuring close-ups of her mouth twitching and grimacing in accompaniment to the Beatles’s ‘Let It Be.’ Somewhere behind its humor and satire I feel a certain ‘tristesse’ which Steina might not like to reveal, but which penetrates into my socks like spring snow.”
In this surreal experimental narrative, there’s something wrong with a patch of sky. As it travels over Southern England, objects cast up into it come down hugely enlarged, bloated. Meanwhile in London, the patch is in fact a troubling scab on a crippled old man’s head. As the scab develops, all he can do is wait, going through the changes, led on gently by the idiot-savant son with his childlike multiple identities.
Long for the City is a short portrait of Patti Smith in the city where she lives. Patti recites the very first poem-song she ever wrote, and then a later one, "Prayer", from the early 1970s. We take a walk in her changing neighborhood, and I ask her what she saw. Footage was shot in the moment, as well as drawn from the archive I've gathered over many years. Long for the City can be considered a non-musical companion piece to the music short, Spirit, which we collaborated on in 2007.
Lost Sound documents fragments of discarded audio tape found by the artists within a small area of East London, combining the sound retrieved from each piece of tape with images of the place where it was found. The work explores the potential of chance, creating portraits of particular places by building formal, narrative, and musical connections between images and sounds, linked by the random discoveries of the tape samples.
Love Songs #1 is composed of three pieces that pose questions about urban culture, race, and politics. Found footage images are manipulated and juxtaposed with popular music; the effects are unsettling, ironic, and sometimes humorous.
An independent film portrait of singer/songwriter Elliott Smith in Portland, Oregon in 1996, wherein he plays three songs. The songs were done live acoustic--in his old studio, a living room, and a bathroom (it was quiet in there). It's also a small portrait of Portland, Oregon.
The songs are "Between the Bars", "Angeles", and a cover of "Thirteen" by Big Star.
This is Elliott as I remember him, at his simple finest as musician.
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.
In the spell of one of the most exquisite pop songs I know, with the most rudimentary of animation skills, I sought to produce a smooth and rapid transition from innocuous kindergarten silliness to faux-Lynchian horror. As with Gaijin, I exploited the then-novel Google image search heavily for this video.
An experimental documentary that asks “What is Hip Hop?” Media Assassin deals with popular magazine coverage of the black music scene and efforts to define the new musical forms emerging since the late 80s. The tape focuses on the story of Harry Allen, a former music journalist for The Village Voice, who handled public relations for the rap group, Public Enemy.
Memory Palace is a short video grounded in the personal history of the artist. A discovery of a photo album activates memories of physical spaces, which in turn open doors to reminiscences of past family life. Inspired by the classical method of loci, the film presents a woman — singer/songwriter Alice Smith — at work in Los Angeles.
In 1985, Hassan Zbib and Olga Nakkas separately started to develop film scenarios based on simple narratives, and would shoot them on Super 8, which was still possible to develop in Beirut at the time. Their work featured the city as a stage where lonely characters drifted: a taxi driver in his car, a man walking around, talking to a Rambo poster.
Meredith Monk (b.1942) has been composing, choreographing, and performing since the mid-1960s. Monk is primarily known for her vocal innovations, including a wide range of extended techniques, which she first developed in her solo performances prior to forming her own ensemble. Her voice has a unique timbre, which she explores through a capella singing and speech. As a dancer and choreographer, she creates hybrid, theatrical productions that incorporate ritualistic movements, lighting effects, and small props.
An abandoned rural house, the Ravel Quartet in F major and then rain, wind, snow and fog are the elements of which this video is composed. In an impossible procession, one take presents four atmospheric agents to strike against the house. The musical instruments which follow the quartet each become an audio track which corresponds to each one of the atmospheric agents. So the sound of the first violin drips like the rain, that one of the second violin is muffled like the snow, the sound of the viola moves like the wind and that one of the cello vibrates like the fog.