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Jason Simon: Three Videos

This special box set, Jason Simon: Three Videos, includes a booklet with an in depth essay by media scholar Cynthia Chris.

"More than any other media artist, Jason Simon explores the inner reaches of American consumer culture in ways that are useful and astounding, familiar yet new.

I first encountered his work when I saw Production Notes in the early 1990s. It continues to be the most intimate journey into the kitchen's of the American advertising industry, a powerful and uncommon exploration of the rigidly managed control system that lurks beneath commercial renditions of spontaneity, freedom and the good life.

Simon's "assisted self-portrait" of Vera is unparalleled, an absolutely gripping voyage into the troubling nexus of consumption and desire. Vera's insipidly intelligent reflections on her compulsive shopping disorder offer a vivid and absolutely compelling exploration of the relationship between the market and mental life. In the United States, there's some of Vera in most of us, and it is this that makes her candid self-revelations all the more disconcerting.

I have used both of these films in my teaching and lecturing in the United States, and have introduced them to international audiences as well. Without exception, both films leave people engrossed and talking to each other with a palpable sense of urgency. Simon opens up a much-needed corridor between the unusual stories he tells and the lived experiences of his audiences." 

--Stuart Ewen

The box set includes the following essay:

Aspiring Objects -- Cynthia Chris

# Title Artists Run Time Year Country
1 Production Notes: Fast Food for Thought Jason Simon 00:28:00 1986 United States
2 Paul Schrader's Bag Jason Simon 00:10:00 2003 United States
3 Vera Jason Simon 00:24:42 2003 United States

Production Notes: Fast Food for Thought

Jason Simon
1986 | 00:28:00 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


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. Stripping the commercial sequences of their glitz and fast pacing is a powerful technique that allows the viewer to examine the jingles with which they may have happily hummed along.

This title is also available on Jason Simon: Three Videos.

Paul Schrader's Bag

Jason Simon
2003 | 00:10:00 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


Paul Schrader’s Bag is an inventory of fame. Playing the anonymous Every Man in a brush with celebrity, Simon presents a Hollywood peerage as our cultural patrimony.

This title is also available on Jason Simon: Three Videos.


Jason Simon
2003 | 00:24:42 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | DV video


Vera is an assisted self-portrait of consumption. The subject is a woman whose passions and compulsions are of spending and loss, taste and subjectivity.

"Mr. Simon… is not making fun of Vera. She is too smart and self-aware and has too much of a sense of humor for that. He treats her like a partner in a collaborative investigation into the effects of consumerism on people. He also does not add any didactic or ideological message of his own. The video allows viewers to reflect for themselves on the psychology and sociology of shopping and consumerism and more generally on how capitalism conditions the lives and desires of modern people."

--Ken Johnson, New York Times, May 26th 2006

This title is also available on Jason Simon: Three Videos.