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The New McLennium

Curated by Video Data Bank

As the expansiveness of video and its accompanying new technologies continues to transform our culture and our world, another historical tension is developing—not unlike the technological revolution seen at the last turn of the century. That tension is felt, analyzed, and articulated in all of these recent experimental videos—a tension oscillating between the expansive promise of global communications that inspire new freedoms and social patterns on one hand, and the use of new media forms to simply reinforce existing hierarchies and capitalistic power structures on the other. The spectre of a "brave new world" looms on the horizon—one that is sanitized, homogenized, commodified, and Americanized: the new McLennium.

Curated by Mindy Faber.

# Title Artists Run Time Year Country
1 Manifestoon Jesse Drew 00:08:20 1995 United States
2 Papapapa Alex Rivera 00:26:45 1997 United States
3 It Is a Crime Meena Nanji 00:05:23 1996 United States
4 Rumour of True Things Paul Bush 00:28:00 1996 United Kingdom
5 Suicide Box Bureau of Inverse Technology 00:13:00 1996 United States
6 Shanghaied Text Ken Kobland 00:19:47 1996 United States
7 ocularis Tran, T. Kim-Trang 00:20:00 1997 United States


Jesse Drew
1995 | 00:08:20 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


Displaying a broad range of Golden Age Hollywood animation, Manifestoon is an homage to the latent subversiveness of cartoons. Though U.S. cartoons are usually thought of as conveyors of capitalist ideologies of consumerism and individualism, Drew observes: "Somehow as an avid childhood fan of cartoons, these ideas were secondary to a more important lesson—that of the 'trickster' nature of many characters as they mocked, outwitted and defeated their more powerful adversaries. In the classic cartoon, brute strength and heavy artillery are no match for wit and humor, and justice always prevails. For me, it was natural to link my own childhood concept of subversion with an established, more articulate version [Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto]. Mickey running over the globe has new meaning in today’s mediascape, in which Disney controls one of the largest concentrations of media ownership in the world."

This title is also available on The New McLennium.


Alex Rivera
1997 | 00:26:45 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


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.

This title is also available on Betraying Amnesia: Latin America Video Portraiture and The New McLennium.

It Is a Crime

Meena Nanji
1996 | 00:05:23 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


Using footage from mainstream British and Hollywood films, and excerpts from a poem by Shani Mootoo, this video explores the impact of cultural imperialism and the erasure of language—residual tools of oppression on members of post-colonial societies.

This title is also available on The New McLennium.

Rumour of True Things

Paul Bush
1996 | 00:28:00 | United Kingdom | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


Most of the moving images produced for science, industry, commerce, and medicine are seen only by specialized audiences, and are then discarded soon after they are made. Rumour Of True Things is constructed entirely from such moving image ephemera, including computer games, weapons testing, production lines, monitoring, and marriage agency tapes. Rumour Of True Things is a remarkable anthropological portrait of a technologically-based society obsessed with imaging itself.

This title is also available on The New McLennium.


Suicide Box

Bureau of Inverse Technology
1996 | 00:13:00 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


A documentary video about the B.I.T. Suicide Box — a motion-triggered camera developed by the Bureau of Inverse Technology (a private information agency), and installed within range of the Golden Gate Bridge to capture a video record of anything that falls from the bridge, and provide an accurate measure of the suicide rate. The piece points to confusing roles for technology within contemporary culture.

— Whitney Biennial (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1996)

Spanish subtitled version also available.

This title is also available on The New McLennium.

Shanghaied Text

Ken Kobland
1996 | 00:19:47 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


A self-described “collage piece” of “stolen images,” Shanghaied Text starts with quiet Montana landscapes, among which are views of a powerful dam. When the dam breaks loose you find yourself “shanghaied” to places unknown, where Kobland confronts you with a provocative mix of historical, lyrical, sexual and political references. Using quotes and pieces from movies by Vertov, Dovjenko, and Buñuel, along with archival images of social protests from the liberation of Paris, the piece builds to an operatic culmination with Turandot’s final choir. Shanghaied Text is a remarkable, dense and gripping work that leaves the viewer pondering our political and cultural heritage, as well as the role and place of technology in our future.

This title is also available on The New McLennium.


Tran, T. Kim-Trang
1997 | 00:20:00 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video


This video highlights several narratives concerning video surveillance—not to reiterate the conventional privacy argument but rather to engage the desire to watch surveillance materials and society’s insatiable voyeurism. A variety of subjects recount their interactions with surveillance—getting caught in the act of stealing or watching pornography, being discouraged from making an illegal ATM withdrawal—and question technological determinism, asking whether we choose to develop technology or technology shapes our choices.

This title is also available on The New McLennium and Tran, T. Kim-Trang: The Blindness Series.