Series Description

 
Video Art and Mass Incarceration Part III
Programmed by Zach Vanes | TRT 01:15:43 | 1991– 1992

One on One: Arnold and Ahneva
Video Details
Wendy Clarke | 1991 | 00:46:43 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | DV video
Arnold, a former restauranteur and musician, and Ahneva, a fashion designer and community organizer, discuss their lives through an exchange of video messages.

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One on One: Arnold and Ahneva
Video Details
Wendy Clarke | 1991 | 00:46:43 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | DV video
Arnold, a former restauranteur and musician, and Ahneva, a fashion designer and community organizer, discuss their lives through an exchange of video messages.

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One on One: Ricky and Cecelia
Video Details
Wendy Clarke | 1992 | 00:29:00 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | DV video
One tape at a time, Ricky and Cecilia bond over a shared love of football and feelings of familial responsibility. 

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Following recent tumultuous events, media outlets and commentators have highlighted how the police, for over a hundred years, have been a continual source of racially-biased injustice and oppression; but so far there has been relative silence on the same disastrous principles within the prison system, even as white supremacy has left incarcerated people particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Angela Davis writes, “On the whole, people tend to take prisons for granted. It is difficult to imagine life without them. At the same time, there is a reluctance to face the realities hidden within them, a fear of thinking about what happens inside them.” The Video Art and Mass Incarceration program presents a selection of artist-made videos that face head-on the reality of the United States prison system, and recognize the lives that exist within it.

The third part of the program features Wendy Clarke's One on One: Arnold and Ahneva and One on One: Ricky and Cecelia. The One on One series is made up of video dialogues between the inmates at California Institution for Men in Chino, California, the members of the Church in Ocean Park in Santa Monica, California, and a group of Crenshaw residents in Los Angeles, California. The series was produced in the early 1990s while Clarke was the artist-in-residence at the California Institution for Men. In the work, Clarke uses the medium of video as a means to form relationships between people who would otherwise never get a chance to communicate with each other. 

The participants agreed to only communicate through the tape exchange, which allowed deep conversations to flourish in a wholly video space. Always beginning with an introductory tape made by the incarcerated person, the lively and emotionally honest video exchanges cross the literal boundary of the prison system, and often societal divisions of race, class, and gender too. Michael Renov writes, "In One on One, the inmates' confessions – the uncoerced expressions of unspoken pain or pleasure – elude authority rather than wholly submit to it, as Foucault would have it. These unsanctioned utterances serve no insitutional master. While indeed judgment, consolation, even reconciliation may be sought from the interlocutor 'outside', the dynamic of dominance and submission is everywhere reversible."

Featured titles

Wendy Clarke, One on One: Arnold and Ahneva

Featuring Arnold and Ahneva from Wendy Clarke's One on One video series, this video dialogue deeply connects the pair through discussion of Black brother and sisterhood. The two find comfort in sharing their own creative individualities, endeavors, and dreams. Their discussion and newly formed relationship poignantly touches upon the impact of mass incarceration within the Black community.

One on One: Ricky and Cecelia, Wendy Clarke

Featuring Ricky and Cecelia from Wendy Clarke's One on One video series, this video exchange between the pair explores topics concerning sibling love, decaying family relationships, and a shared interest in professional football. Although brief compared to the other parts within the One on One series, there is a glimmer of genuine human connection in their words.

Resources

Los Angeles Times, 'One on One' Is the Best TV Talk You Can't See, Howard Rosenberg, December 8th, 1983
Video Confessions, Michael Renov, 1996