Consumer culture

1999
Phosphorescence

Broken up into "chapters," Phosphoresence features an array of abstractions created by manipulating television images. At times almost painterly, the resulting images are set to an ambient electronic soundtrack.

This title is also available on Anthony Discenza Videoworks: Volume 1.

2010
Pigs

A close-range look at pigs living on a farm in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pigs, individually and as a group, become a metaphor for humanity as they go from leisurely wallowing in the mud to the wildness of a feeding frenzy. In a key shot, a pig confronts the viewer with a prolonged, enigmatic stare, as if questioning the very nature of human/animal relationship.

“Marvelously abstract and perfectly concrete.”

-- The Jury of the 2011 Hong Kong International Film Festival

2004
Kent Lambert "Piracy"

Via Jonathan Pryce in elaborate costuming, Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) unwittingly sounded a clear and full-throated argument for the appropriation of so-called intellectual property, for the video remix/rework/quotation, practices and forms that would become ubiquitous on YouTube and its ilk a few short years later.

1980
PM Magazine/Acid Rock

Appropriating material from the introduction to the nightly television show, PM Magazine and a commercial for Wang Computers, Birnbaum uses enlarged still-frames from each of the sources to compound a new image of the indelible American Dream. To the soundtrack of an acid rock version of The Doors' L.A. Woman, repetitive images of an ice skater, baton twirler, cheerleader, and young girls licking ice cream, exemplify dominant cultural images of women — images that emphasize their performative nature: the idea that woman is a spectacle arranged for the (male) viewer's pleasure.

2003
Pony Changes Everything

A man explains global currency markets without the help of his formerly trusty rockin’ talkin’ pony, who is missing. Without the pony, the world is as disorientating as it is depressing. The audience is invited to help make order of the chaos.

This title is also available on Ben Coonley: Post Pony Trilogy.

1983
Possibly in Michigan

Possibly In Michigan is an operatic fairytale about cannibalism in Middle America. A masked man stalks a woman through a shopping mall and follows her home. In the end, their roles are reversed when the heroine deposits a mysterious Hefty bag at the curb. Like Condit's other video narratives, Possibly In Michigan shows bizarre events disrupting mundane lives. Combining the commonplace with the macabre, humor with the absurd, she constructs a world of divided reality.

1989
Precious Products

In Precious Products we are subtly reminded of this country’s obsession with consumerism and narcissism. George, with his ever-present video-8 camera, attends an opening of Precious Products—an exhibition of artworks satirizing art as commodity. He leaves the art world of San Francisco to spend a Christmas holiday with friends in their opulent home. Ironically, this is the home of a celebrity (another kind of commodity), Russian defector/ballerina Natalia Makanova. Surrounded by all the luxuries of life and Makanova’s image, George muses about death.

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.

1986
Production Notes: Fast Food for Thought

Production Notes allows us to eavesdrop on the business decisions behind the creation of our daily diet of television commercials. This excellent tape undertakes to explode the address of seven TV ads by means of repetition, slow motion, and “production notes”— memos sent from the advertising agency to the production company prior to filming the spots, to describe the intentions, desires, strategies and ideology of the commercials and their creators.

2002
pulse pharma phantasm

pulse pharma phantasm is a frame by frame weaving of nine different pharmaceutical television commercials into a pulsating hallucination of worry and relief.

1993
The Pure

Using footage from a trip to the Orient, images of objects, products, the city and nature, Rankin investigates society's reverance for the "exotic" and the "pure" as manifested in tourism, Communism, Coca-Cola, Las Vegas, the Civil War, Hollywood, and photography. Examining the common idealisation of things distant in time or space, The Pure didactically reflects upon our societal penchant for categorization that begins with childhood games and is reflected in the way our culture organizes itself and the world around it.

2014
Kent Lambert, RECKONING 3

RECKONING 3 is the first in a series of investigations into:

1. Terror and wonder in big-budget virtual worlds

2. The mutability, fragility and loneliness of technologically mediated social identities and friendships

3. The queerness and malevolence of archetypal masculinity

4. The diminishing distance between "real" and "artificial" humanity

5. The poetics of blockbuster aesthetics

2016
Reckoning 4

RECKONING 4 is the second in a series of investigations into (among other things)

1980
Remy/Grand Central Trains and Boats and Planes

In a piece commissioned by Remy Martin, Birnbaum adopts the language of commercial advertising, using the body, gestures, and glances of a heavily made-up woman to create a scene of glamour and romance—while slipping in a disparaging narrative that touches on the actual use and abuse of Remy Martin's product. Birnbaum sets up a typical commercial, then allows the fictive narrative to intrude, upsetting the advertised fantasy with a dose of unpleasant reality.

1985
Sherry Millner & Ernest Larsen, Scenes From the Microwar

Scenes from the Micro-War explains, "The worst of times—riots, famine, war—could be just around the next corner and, in the battle to survive, this family is going to be battle-ready from here on in." This fractured narrative follows the misadventures of a family hypnotized by Reagan’s Space Wars, state terrorism, and Rambo/commando fashions, as the family has shifts from consumerist unit to military training force.