Hymn of Reckoning

2006 | 00:06:30 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | DV video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Death and Dying, Politics, Video games, War

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In an interview I did earlier this year for the Milan Game Video/Art exhibition, I deflected a question about the connection between Hymn of Reckoning and Reckoning 3, discouraging the idea that there was much of a link between the two videos, apart from their names and their use of video game material. Now that I’ve thought about it more, I can tease out more connections. Both pieces were more ambitious and laborious than work I’d made before, and with both I attempted to critically engage with media products I’d willingly consumed (as opposed to found by chance or at a day-job). Both feature recognizable Hollywood actors (as opposed to obscure or unknown performers). For both, I recorded synthesizer figures and chords to provide connective tissue between sequences.

I made Hymn of Reckoning in direct response to the torture plots of Bush/Cheney-era television entertainments, plots that provided insidious support for the architects of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the like. I’d shot Julie Christie sobbing in Afterglow off of my TV in Brooklyn in the summer of 2001, and in the months after 9/11 I’d tie that clip in my mind with Tom Cruise sniff-hyperventilating in Magnolia. I thought I’d try to make an unbearable clip reel of actors sobbing hysterically, an expression of the grotesque, compounding sorrow of those months and years, the sorrow that was never as viscerally present in public discourse as I thought it should be, a sorrow that of course continues on and on. I avoided the sobbing clip reel project until the winter of 2005-6, when Hymn of Reckoning was a feverish obsession and I needed a sequence to close it out.

“The masterful Hymn of Reckoning (2006) combines images from old computer games and Lost to create a carefully calculated age-of-terror mental maelstrom.”

— Ed Halter, “Recycle It,” Moving Image Source, July 2008

This video is part of the Oto Trilogy and is also avaliable on Kent Lambert Videoworks: Volume 1

Exhibitions + Festivals

Conversations At The Edge, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, September 2010

Impakt Festival, Utrecht, Holland, March 2007

Eye & Ear Clinic, SAIC, Chicago, December 2006

LA Freewaves, November 2006

Chicago Underground Film Festival, August 2006

De Player, Rotterdam, Holland, June 2006

Scheld’apen, Antwerp, Belgium, May 2006

New York Underground Film Festival, March 2006

WARPHaus, Gainesville, Florida, February 2006

The Pit, Jacksonville, Florida, February 2006