Experimental Film

2001
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Imagine that the camera is possessed with a psychosis similar to human schizophrenia; suppose that this disease subtly changes every single frame of film while leaving the narrative superficially intact. Then imagine that these symptoms came on as a result of the trauma of recording bizarre or horrific events, for instance those of the 1941 horror film Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde...

Adapted from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.

This title is also available on Paul Bush Pixilated.

2015
Elisabeth Subrin Videoworks

Video Data Bank is proud to present a compilation of celebrated titles by the artist Elisabeth Subrin, featuring four award-winning video works: Swallow (1995), Shulie (1997), The Fancy (2000), and Well, Well, Well (2002), each of which engage conventions of documentary and experimental narrative. Available together for the first time, these conceptual projects work strategically to undermine their own forms, shifting historical periods, genres and identifications to explore the nature of psychological "disorder," the residual impact of feminism and

1982
Ellis Island

Between 1892 and 1927, almost 16 million people came to Ellis Island attempting to immigrate to the United States.

2012
Encounters I May or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin

Encounters I May Or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin deals primarily with monumentality, narcissism and the ways in which our heroes are embedded into our identities, and manifested through the body. Through a variety of gestures, the pervasiveness of this practice is highlighted alongside its ultimate, inevitable failure. The viewer moves through various stages of anxiety, idolization and actual touchdown with 1970s gay sex icon Peter Berlin himself, capturing both the apparent and the hidden.

2009

Endless Dreams and Water Between is a feature film with four fictitious characters sustaining an epistolary exchange in which their “planetary thought” is woven with the physical locations they inhabit, visual and aural characters in themselves: the island of Manhattan, the island of Majorca, in Spain, and the islands and peninsula that form the San Francisco Bay Area. The characters’ reflections and dreams enact what could be described as “an archipelagic mind,” linking worlds, time, and space.

2009
ETC: Experimental Television Center 1969 - 2009

ETC: Experimental Television Center 1969-2009 is a five-DVD box set presenting the electronic media work of over one hundred artists who participated in the Center’s Residency Program during a 40-year period. The collection offers a look at the evolution of the unique artist-designed sound and image tools that are the hallmark of the Center’s studio, and provides a view into the constantly changing artistic processes and practices that have shaped the work over the years.

2005
Fifeville

Fifeville is a film about a neighborhood in Charlottesville, Virginia. It focuses on the details, gestures, and material life of the citizens of Fifeville as they communicate their understandings of the neighborhood’s changing landscape. Although Fifeville is set in Charlottesville, it could be Any Black Community Experiencing Gentrification, USA, 21st Century.

Co-director: Corey D.B. Walker. Crew: bh103a.

1969
Five Easy Pieces

A compilation of five early short films made between 1966 to 1969.

Hand Movie 1966, 5:00, b&w, silent, 8mm

Close-up of a hand, the fingers of which enact a sensuous dance. Camerawork by William Davis.

Volleyball (Foot Film) 1967, 10:00 b&w, silent, 16mm

A volleyball is rolled into the frame and comes to rest. Two legs in sneakers, seen from the knees down, enter the frame and stand beside it. Cut to new angle, same characters and actions. Camerawork by Bud Wirtschafter.

2017
Ephraim Asili "Fluid Frontiers"

Fluid Frontiers is the fifth and final film in the series entitled The Diaspora Suite, exploring Asili’s personal relationship to the African Diaspora. Shot along the Detroit River, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between concepts of resistance and liberation, exemplified by the Underground Railroad, Broadside Press, and artworks of local Detroit Artists.

2010
Ephraim Asili "Forged Ways"

The Diaspora Suite

Filmed on location in Harlem (NY) and Ethiopia, Forged Ways oscillates between the first person account of a filmmaker, a man navigating the streets of Harlem, and the day to day life in the cities and villages of Ethiopia.

2012

Shot in the style of a silent film from the 1920s, Frida & Anita is a political fantasy, intersecting the lives of two queer radicals — Frida Kahlo and Anita Berber — who happen to meet one fateful Berlin night in 1924 at the infamous La Garcon Cabaret.

Frida & Anita is the first film in The Surface Tension Trilogy, a three-part short film trilogy looking at queer artists living in Berlin during the 1920s.

2017
Storyteller, Nicolas Provost

VDB TV: Decades
2010s: Future-Past-Present

An original program for VDB TV: Decades curated by Omar Kholeif.

1992
Gargantuan

“To master the one-minute time span requires considerable discipline, and few pieces, if any, had been shaped as genuine miniatures—most having the appearance of being extracts from larger works. The notable exception was John Smith’s Gargantuan, which was not only the right length for the idea, but actually incorporated a triple pun on the word ‘minute.’”

— Nicky Hamlyn, “One Minute TV 1992”, Vertigo (Spring 1993)

"A wonderfully witty example of how to conduct pillow talk with a small amphibian."

— Elaine Paterson, Time Out London

1995
German Song

Shot in black and white Super 8, this lyrical short follows a wandering, disengaged youth through grey afternoons. German Song features the hard-edged music of Come, an alternative band from Boston.

1976
The Girl Chewing Gum

“In The Girl Chewing Gum a commanding voiceover appears to direct the action in a busy London street. As the instructions become more absurd and fantasized, we realize that the supposed director (not the shot) is fictional; he only describes—not prescribes—the events that take place before him. Smith embraced the ‘spectre of narrative’ (suppressed by structural film) to play word against picture and chance against order.