Politics

2017
Only Idiots Smile, Gregg Bordowitz

"Gregg Bordowitz’s 2017 performance lecture Only Idiots Smile features the artist on a stool in the New Museum’s top-floor sky room, riffing on the formation of his identity. At one point, he explains his 'Jewish identity is the template thru which I understand all my other identities… how to appear to others, how we’d like to seem to others,' how others might frame themselves to be seen by us.

1982
Oued Nefifik: A Foreign Movie

Oued Nefifik: A Foreign Movie is an experimental narrative that incorporates an actual political situation. The film was shot in the immediate aftermath of violent repression following food riots in Casablanca, June 1981. It characterizes the experience of a political event for people outside of it. The point of view is that of an absurd and sympathetic character based on Jacques Tati’s Mr Hulot, who is distanced from the post-colonial milieu in which he finds himself.

1986
Out of the Mouths of Babes

This video proposes an ironic metaphor to grasp the follies of U.S. government action and inaction in Central America. The process of learning U.S. policy is similar to the process of a young child acquiring the principles of language. These dual senses of literacy operate on several levels, situating a child’s consciousness within the contradictions of history comments on the illusory innocence of childhood, and the unexamined, but real, guilt of the U.S. government, its supporters and clients.

1983
Perfect Leader

A satire of the political television spot, Perfect Leader shows that ideology is the product and power is the payoff. The process of political imagemaking and the marketing of a candidate is revealed, as an omnipotent computer manufactures the perfect candidate, offering up three political types: Mr. Nice Guy, an evangelist, and an Orwellian Big Brother. Behind the candidates, symbols of political promises quickly degenerate into icons of oppression and nuclear war.

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.

2007
Ephraim Asili "Points on a Space Age"

“A documentary about the Arkestra, but it's one whose presentation reflects the multilevel approach Sun Ra had to music and life in general. Jump cuts and split screens dot the visual stream with home movie footage from the Arkestra in Egypt during the 1970s to the Arkestra of today led by Marshall Allen. Director Ephraim Asili wisely divides the 40 minutes into distinct chapters, illustrating each with band interviews, live footage, visuals of planets and NASA launches, and his voice quoting writings from Ra.

1981
Polisario: Liberation of the Western Sahara

A historical analysis of the on-going war in the Western Sahara. Liza Bear interviews Abdullah Majdid, the Polisario Front's United Nations representative. The tape addresses Morocco's U.S.-backed military effort to subjugate the indigenous Sahrawi population and annex one of the world's largest phosphate deposits, as well as the Sahrawis' conditions for a referendum.

1996
Political Advertisement

Presidential candidates are sold like commercial products and naturally television is the ideal medium. Political Advertisement depicts the evolution of political ads over the last 44 years, beginning with Eisenhower in 1952 (which was an unqualified success), and continuing up to the most recent ad campaigns for Ross Perot, Bob Dole, and Bill Clinton in 1996. 

2000
Political Advertisement 2000

Antonio Muntadas and Marshall Reese have been documenting the selling of the American presidency since 1984, and have expanded and updated the series with every election. Political Advertisement 2000 features ads from the 1950s up to the 2000 campaign. As Muntadas and Reese trace the development of the TV spot, what emerges is the political strategy and manipulative marketing techniques of the American televisual campaign process. Political Advertisement 2000 includes many rare spots, some never before seen.

2004
Political Advertisement 2004

The latest in Muntadas and Reese's series documenting the selling of the American presidency features political ads from the 1950s to ads from the 2004 campaigns, and highlights the development of the political strategy and marketing techniques of the TV campaign process.

Edited without commentary, the artists show an endless stream of candidates, from Eisenhower to Kerry, who are marketed like commercial products. As Muntadas and Reese trace the development of the campaign TV spot, what becomes apparent is a consistent sameness of political issues amid complex, changing visuals.

2008
Political Advertisement 2008

The 2008 iteration Muntadas and Reese's series documenting the selling of the American presidency features political ads from the 1950s to ads from the 2008 campaigns, and highlights the development of the political strategy and marketing techniques of the TV campaign process.

2012
Political Advertisement 2012

The latest in Muntadas and Reese's series documenting the selling of the American presidency features political ads from the 1950s to ads from the 2012 campaigns, and highlights the development of the political strategy and marketing techniques of the TV campaign process.

Edited without commentary, the artists show an endless stream of candidates, from Eisenhower to Obama, who are marketed like commercial products. As Muntadas and Reese trace the development of the campaign TV spot, what becomes apparent is a consistent sameness of political issues amid complex, changing visuals.

2016
Antonio Muntadas and Michael Reese 'Political Advertisement 2016'

The latest in Muntadas and Reese's series documenting the selling of the American presidency features political ads from the 1950s to ads from the 2016 campaigns, and highlights the development of the political strategy and marketing techniques of the TV campaign process.

2010
Porto 1975, Filipa César

Applying the same economy used in César's other films — one shot which uses the duration of an entire 16mm film reel — Porto 1975 is a tracking shot that unfolds at the social housing complex, Cooperativa das Águas Férreas da Bouça, designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira, as an integral part of the Ambulatory Service of Social Support (SAAL, 1972–76). The work's construction was initiated in 1975 but only completed in 2006.

2004
Presidents and Elections

The commodification of the American presidency is examined and lampooned in Presidents and Elections, a compilation of work from the Video Data Bank collection. Interweaving humorous, disquieting, and surreal videos with actual presidential campaign ads, the program highlights the evolving role of television as the driving force of electoral politics.