Death and Dying

1970
Fred Hampton: Chant and Demonstration

Rare footage of a September 1970 rally honoring the late Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. One of the speakers leads the audience in a call and response.

2002
Frozen War

Made in Ireland, October 8th, 2001.

A disorientating experience while attempting to watch the TV news in an Irish hotel room triggers a spontaneous response to the bombing of Afghanistan.

Frozen War is the first episode in the Hotel Diaries series, a collection of video recordings made in the world’s hotel rooms, which relate personal experiences and reflections to contemporary conflicts in the Middle East.

2011
Gossip

Rebecca gazes into the crystal ball. It is afternoon in a Brooklyn neighborhood of industrial buildings. Rebecca has a way with words just as words have a way of seeking her out. The crystal ball intensifies this. The A train rumbles over the Manhattan Bridge. Rebecca gazes into the crystal ball. Nighttime in a suburban neighborhood of burnt out buildings. Words have a way with Rebecca just as Rebecca has a way of seeking them out. The crystal ball intensifies this.

1981
Grand Mal

"Oursler’s thematic concerns betray classic Freudian anxieties about sex and death. In Grand Mal, the hero takes a convoluted odyssey through a landscape of disturbing experiences. The video’s free association includes, "digressions about the difference between salt and sugar and a version of the creation myth that is both banal and terrifying."

— Christine Tamblyn, “Art Notes,” Scan (November/December 1981)

2001
Habit

Habit is an autobiographical documentary that follows the current history of the AIDS epidemic along dual trajectories: the efforts of South Africa’s leading AIDS activist group, the Treatment Action Campaign, struggling to gain access to AIDS drugs and the daily routine of the videomaker, a veteran AIDS activist in the U.S. who has been living with AIDS for more than ten years.

2012
Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas

Video Data Bank is proud to present the wonderful work of prolific video artist Ximena Cuevas in our latest DVD box set, Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas. This four volume box set features 25 videos by the award-winning artist, spanning 21 years, and is accompanied by a 75-page booklet containing the following essays that examine aspects of Cuevas’s work: 

2011
HalfLifers: The Complete History, 1992 - 2010

HalfLifers is an ongoing collaborative project created by longtime friends and fellow media artists Torsten Zenas Burns and Anthony M. Discenza. Embracing a gestural improvisation-based performance style and championing a rigorously low-fi aesthetic, HalfLifers engages a shifting region of speculative fictions, from play therapy and improvised crisis re-stagings to zombie architectural systems and psychic sandwich surgery.

1987
Hey Bud

Hey Bud revolves around the suicide of Bud Dwyer, a government official who killed himself before a television audience. Zando compares the suicide to a kind of pornographic sex act that plays upon the tension created between exhibitionist and voyeur. It forces viewers to take either an empathetic position vis-a-vis the exhibitionist, or to act as voyeur through release of the repressed desire to see the forbidden face of Death. The piece attempts to understand the power gained through exhibitionism, and how that power is lost through death.

1999
Ben Stone, High Five

High Five usually comes across as absurd and silly, and generally gets a laugh when shown. I appreciate this response and agree it is quite ridiculous on the surface. However few know the true dark meaning of the piece, which was my personal contribution to a ceremony commemorating the twentieth anniversary of my mother's suicide.

1991
The Houses that Are Left

With an amusing sense of drama, The Houses That Are Left illustrates Silver’s technique of building an obscure narrative into a complex net of miscellaneous texts and images. Unfolding throughout the tape is the story of two friends who come together to try to figure out how to live in the modern world while being besieged by militant messages from the dead.

2001
Human Touch

A re-edit of found footage of a hunter touching the antlers of a fallen deer. Human Touch suggests an uncomfortable intimacy between hunter and prey.

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

2006
Kent Lambert "Hymn of Reckoning"

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.

2016

An elegy to Diane Burns on the shapes of mortality and being, and the forms the transcendent spirit takes while descending upon landscapes of life and death. A place for new mythologies to syncopate with deterritorialized movement and song, reifying old routes of reincarnation. Where resignation gives hope for another opportunity, another form, for a return to the vicissitudes of the living and all their refractions.

“I’m from Oklahoma I ain’t got no one to call my own.
If you will be my honey, I will be your sugar pie way hi ya
way ya hi ya way ya hi yo.”

2015
I'm Dying

I once read a story about the Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, "I'm dying." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too." This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable. It was a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.

2009
Idyll

Offer a pagan god only simple flowers of spring and the sparkling diamonds and opals of morning dew strung on the threads of the spider... and fear the judgement of holy angels.