Family

2008
Orphans of the Cosmos

Made at the San Francisco Art Institute with my students, this tuneful picture transports the viewer to the planet Mars as three attractive teens seek funding for an expedition into adulthood. Along the way they and we encounter the ups and downs of human relations and otherworldly intercourse. A family picture with timeless values, this foray into fantasy land on a tight budget should please the young at heart or old in body in unexpected ways. Although this trip is short on funding but big in concept it’s really quite a ride and looks like a million bucks for the vision impaired.

1997
Papapapa

An experimental video about immigration. Looking at the potato (which was first cultivated in Peru) Papapapá paints a picture of a vegetable that has traveled and been transformed—following the migrating potato North where it becomes the potato chip, the couch potato, and the french fry. Papapapá simultaneously follows another Peruvian in motion, the artist’s father, Augusto Rivera. The stories of the two immigrants, the potato and Papa Rivera, converge as Augusto becomes a Peruvian couch potato, sitting on an American sofa, eating potato chips and watching Spanish language television.

1989
Peggy and Fred in Kansas

Peggy and Fred, sole inhabitants of post-apocalyptic Earth, weather a prairie twister and scavenge for sense and sustenance amid the ruined devices of a ghosted culture. The improvised and playful dialogue of the children provides a key to understanding the tape; their distracted sense of make-believe floats between realities, between acting their parts and doing what they want—patching together identities that, like fidgeting children, refuse to stand still.

2002
Perfect Spot

A daughter leads her mother on a rope while they take a walk, looking for a place where the mother can bid her final farewell. Before she leaves, they have a picnic, she sings a song, and they chat about the family. An absurd domestic drama played out against the background of a summer’s day by the seaside.

2011
Daniel Eisenberg, POSTWAR: The Films of Daniel Eisenberg

This three-disc DVD box set contains Eisenberg's four thematically connected films - Displaced Person, Cooperation of Parts, Persistence, and Something More Than Night - made between 1981 and 2003, exploring the ongoing implications of the Second World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as the relationships between the past, present and future, and how the meanings of events transform over time.  The disks are accompanied by a booklet with a contextualizing essay by Scott Durham and an artist interview with Domieta Torlasco, along with titl

1997
Purgatory Junction

A vain, self centered mother competes with her daughter in the world of carnivorous men and sleazy movies.

2010
House Hold, Guy Ben-Ner

This first program deals with stories of captivity. To start, Hostage: The Bachar tapes by Walid Raad presents us with an imagined hostage presumably held in custody along with the American hostages in Lebanon during the 1980’s. Raad’s work reflects on the invention and communication of stories about abduction, insisting on the families’ unity in the face of threats, and reads through the fears and sexual fantasies of the kidnapped Americans who are held in the same cell with a Lebanese man.

2010
(Posthume) (Posthumous), Ghassan Salhab

This program presents different approaches to looking at war, and to using images of war. My Friend Imad and the Taxi is an unfinished work from two amateur filmmakers, both passionate about film, who lived in Beirut in the eighties when the city looked like the set from a war film. Samir’s work looks at the intersection between (H)istory and (h)is story as lived at home.

2010
Detail, Avi Mograbi

Border situations have inspired writers, artists and filmmakers, particularly within the context of divisions and border control within the Middle East. Who draws the borders? What are the effects of imposing them, of imposing checkpoints? This program looks at border situations. In the works presented here, we take a close look at the lines of demarcation, observing what happens on borders in divided Lefkosia (Nicosia), the occupied territories in Palestine, and at the excavation of the site of a former border in Lebanon which no longer exists.

2010
Birthday Suit with scars and defects, Lisa Steele

How useful is personal testimony to History? The most abstract of all the works that focus on personal narrative in this program is certainly Lisa Steele’s Birthday Suit with scars and defects, in which the artist gently caresses every scar on her body, names it, dates it, and describes the circumstances in which the scar was inscribed. These are traces that defy memory, and that indeed become an alternative memory. Steele’s video presents us with an abstraction of oneself, almost a schema of the body as it becomes a register of violence.

2007
Recitation

The Grandmother recites the Mourners' Kaddish over her granddaughter.

1990

A drama, enacted on the cornfields of Iowa, of a woman haunted by the legacy of her mother and the acts that lead to mom's downfall on the banks of a river. Unable to follow a different path to drier terrain, the heroine over-lubricates both inside and out and gets stuck in the muck.

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.

2012
Hester Scheurwater Videoworks: Volume 2

In her overt challenge to conventional modes of femininity and sexuality, Hester Scheurwater confronts the viewer with her own body. The distorted, doll-like characters she plays in her video performances balance between fantasy and reality shifting between being vulnerable, violent, inviting and threatening. Scheurwater's characters are portrayed as isolated, confused and damaged—physically and emotionally—and unable to connect to their surroundings. Scheurwater’s provocative and unsettling works address relationships, notions of decorum, and the portrayal of women in the media.

2000
Sea in the Blood

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return.