City

Burnout, 2003

A metropolis awash in electrical overdrive crashes in the heat of summer and sends a Bronxite into the clutches of a waterworld further north. It is there that we witness the cooling fogs and diving mammals of maritime yore and sail free in winds of a nautical nature. A nature that fills the summer sky with twinkling tidbits and the tummy with protein rich denizens of Neptune’s soup. A tour of the towering turrets of tomorrow land and the spatial splendor of yesterday’s yearnings captured on both chemical and electrical media.

"This film is closely related to my last feature-length project, Counting. I take the temperature of a neighborhood. In this case, the place is my New York. I think about street life and its threatened demise – a death ushered in as Big Money relentlessly re-makes cities in ever more categorical ways. I think with the camera, on the move, in fragments.

A troupe of male and female jugglers and musicians perform for a growing crowd in Central Park, New York, led by Hovey Burgess and Judy Finelli.  The sun is shining, and the troupe are skilful, playful, and flirtatious. 

Citadel, 2020

Filmed from the artist’s window during lockdown, Citadel combines short fragments from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speeches relating to coronavirus with views of the London skyline recorded in a variety of weather conditions. Recognising the government’s decision to place business interests before public health, it relocates the centre of power from Parliament to the financial district of the City of London.

Gautam Chatterjee uses the streets, parks, and temple grounds of the city of Varanasi, India, to teach his students a 2000-year old method of acting.  Based on Natya Shastra, a treatise written by a quasi-mythical monk Bharat Muni, the instructions aim to intimately connect the actor with the real world.  Through deep engagement with the surroundings, people, animals, plants, and phenomena such as waves on the water or patches of sunlight on the ground, the actors work towards creating a truthful representation of the world.

Set in Medellín, Colombia, Como crece la sombra cuando el sol declina (Like Shadows Growing as the Sun Goes Down) features tireless car traffic, jugglers at intersections, and employees on breaks, focusing on precise movements marking the repetitive flow of time.

Company Line is a film about one of the first predominately Black neighborhoods in Mansfield, Ohio. The title, Company Line, refers to the name historically used by residents to describe their neighborhood, located on the north side of town close to the old steel mill. The Company Line began during the post–war migration of Blacks from the south to the north in the late 1940’s. The neighborhood was purchased in the early 1970s and its residents were scattered throughout Mansfield.

A witch’s moon ignites an artist’s canvas with lurid colors that keep him from sleep in a city that is the subject for his brush. Disgusted with the spiritual emptiness of his paintings, he now seeks a landscape that will contain in it deeper meanings — one that offers “inner peace.”

 

The city today is as rationalised and regulated as a production process. The images which today determine the day of the city are operative images, control images. Representations of traffic regulation, by car, train or metro, representations determining the height at which mobile phone network transmitters are fixed, and where the holes in the networks are. Images from thermo-cameras to discover heat loss from buildings.

Deadline, 1981

An insert square of a man running is superimposed over a magnified mouth that speaks to him — first in nurturing encouragement, then with a no-win Mommie Dearest kind of criticism. Originally presented as an installation on six monitors, Deadline focuses on “the stress man feels in the urban environment,” using a range of digital video effects to stretch, compress, flip and fracture the image.

[A] postcard-sized [film that]…manage[s] to implicate the audience’s ethical imagination…Distant Shores models a necessary imaginative leap simply by juxtaposing footage of a Chicago River cruise with testimony of a migrant’s harrowing voyage at sea. A three-minute film edited in camera; it nevertheless offers several ways of thinking about displacement.

–– Max Goldberg, KQED Arts

Do Not Circulate, an experimental short film, attempts a structuralist and materialist approach to unraveling the entrails of a collective media memory. Paced by an essay as a relentless voiceover, the film rips footage that challenges the materiality, ownership and legal boundaries of documentation.

Frenzied voices on the Chicago Police Department’s scanner call for squad cars and reprisals during the 2020 uprising in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as Google Earth tracks the action through simulated aerial views of urban spaces and the vast Cook County Department of Corrections, the country’s third-largest jail system. In Christopher Harris’s Dreams Under Confinement, the prison, and the street merge into a shared carceral landscape.

THE DRESS, 2021

THE DRESS: is a projection prop created for a performance piece at the Art Institute in 1984. It was installed in March 2021, suspended in front of a building on the Bowery as both a memorial to my grandmother, a Hungarian immigrant and master seamstress, and to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, of 1911, which occurred a few blocks north of this site.

-EJay Sims

THE DRESS, 2021

THE DRESS: is a projection prop created for a performance piece at the Art Institute in 1984. It was installed in March 2021, suspended in front of a building on the Bowery as both a memorial to my grandmother, a Hungarian immigrant and master seamstress, and to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, of 1911, which occurred a few blocks north of this site.

-EJay Sims

​From below ground, a man named Eddie describes flood lines, levees and trivial histories of the crumbling infrastructure of Memphis, TN. In this same city, the filmmaker, a recent transsexual transplant, watches military propaganda and contemplates masculine connectivity as he attempts to integrate into the American South. He posts a Craigslist ad asking men to masturbate on-camera with their firearms. He receives a single response from a man whose name is also Eddie.

Eileen, 2000

This video is an unabashed fan letter to poet Eileen Myles. As in Laurie, my desire was to romanticize the poet, but not through her writing so much as through her reputation as the natural born child of the New York School and the Beats. I shot the movie as I imagined Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie shooting Pull My Daisy, a film that left an impression on me chiefly of the struggle between form and formlessness, plan and improvisation, sketch and story.

El Zócalo is an observational portrait of Mexico City’s central Plaza de la Constitutión during one day in August. Soldiers, Aztec dancers, clowns, food vendors, protestors, rain, dogs, tourists, kites, balloons, and dignitaries all meet in the public space of the Zócalo. This documentary presents daily life in one of the largest and most vibrant urban centers in the world, but it begins with a dream of history and ends with a dream of the space full of people for a Zapatista rally.

El Zócalo is an observational portrait of Mexico City’s central Plaza de la Constitutión during one day in August. Soldiers, Aztec dancers, clowns, food vendors, protestors, rain, dogs, tourists, kites, balloons, and dignitaries all meet in the public space of the Zócalo. This documentary presents daily life in one of the largest and most vibrant urban centers in the world, but it begins with a dream of history and ends with a dream of the space full of people for a Zapatista rally.

Event Fission is an outdoor performance on the Hudson River landfill, produced by Creative Time. Eiko & Koma danced with a huge white flag billowing on top of a sand dune as the audience watched from below. The white flag was used to symbolically attack the newly developed downtown buildings. On a lower level of the landfill, to which Eiko & Koma tumbled down, there were fires on four corners of the performing area. At the end of the performance of 50 minutes, Eiko & Koma were swallowed into a deep hole they had dug and hid, disappearing with a blast of sand.

Failing Up describes career advancement despite bad decisions, bankruptcies, and intellectual mediocrity. In this short film, the Manhattan real estate holdings of the King of Failing Up are catalogued and synced to a soundtrack that suggests how it feels to be one of his subjects.

Whip pans, zooms, lens twists, and bursts of stop-frame animation transform eight minutes of borrowed audio from Home Alone 2 (a film that features a cameo of the current US President) into a political work of slapstique concrete.

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.

This first "Frieda" collaboration between performance artists Barbara Lipp and Tom Koden and video artist Tom Rubnitz chronicles Frieda's rise from assembly-line worker in a box factory to singing superstar. Featuring rock-bottom production values and a sound track which includes the Brady Bunch kids' tune "Gonna Find a Rainbow".

 

 

This first "Frieda" collaboration between performance artists Barbara Lipp and Tom Koden and video artist Tom Rubnitz chronicles Frieda's rise from assembly-line worker in a box factory to singing superstar. Featuring rock-bottom production values and a sound track which includes the Brady Bunch kids' tune "Gonna Find a Rainbow".

 

 

This first "Frieda" collaboration between performance artists Barbara Lipp and Tom Koden and video artist Tom Rubnitz chronicles Frieda's rise from assembly-line worker in a box factory to singing superstar. Featuring rock-bottom production values and a sound track which includes the Brady Bunch kids' tune "Gonna Find a Rainbow".