Mental Landscape

Torn over the pressure to perform for his audience, Acconci fantasizes about "a dancing bear" who takes his place, performing in the spotlight, doing what others want, "what I always had to do."  The viewer is placed in the position of an authority or analyst, above Acconci’s head, listening to his hallucination.  This fantasy becomes increasingly erotic as Acconci unburdens himself psychologically and reveals his contradictory need to control and to be controlled.

This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.

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.”

 

"Conspiracy Of Lies speaks of the alienation of minorities, of consumer culture, urban isolation and the fine balance between mental order and chaos. The video begins with a voice (my own) recounting the story of the discovery of a series of diary entries and lists written by an anonymous author. When I found the texts, I assumed the author to be a white, gay man, like myself. Through the use of twelve narrators of different race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, I attempted to destabilize my own subjectivity and challenge my pre-existing assumptions regarding difference.

The police phoned. They left a message on the machine. They said he was dead. The video unwinds through stories of sex for rent, unclaimed bodies, cigarette burns, and other monuments of life’s long run from wall to wall. Cut the Parrot is three grotesque comedies in one: the stories of Gerry, Susan, and Albert. Songs of hope and heartbreak spill from the mouths of the performers. The order of impersonation rules.

This piece investigates the possibilities and limits of writing a history of the Lebanese civil wars (1975-1991). The videos offer accounts of the fantastic situations that beset a number of individuals, though they do not document what happened. Rather, they explore what can be imagined, what can be said, what can be taken for granted, what can appear as rational, sayable, and thinkable about the wars.

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 hypnosis-inducing pan-geographic shuttle built on brainwave-generating binaural beats, Deep Sleep takes us on a journey through the sound waves of Gaza to travel between different sights of modern ruin. Restricted from travel to Palestine, I learned auto-hypnosis for the purpose of bi-locating. What results is a journey, recorded on Super 8mm film, to the ruins of ancient civilizations embedded in modern civilization in ruins, to a site ruined beyond evidence of civilization.

…..Listen!….. hear the words from warm skin…..’words’ that whisper….’words’ that shout.

A thoughtful mind travels in the landscape of moods…. This internal realm has ‘paths’ with ‘dead ends’ and intuitive ‘turns’ that guide the sleepless pilgrim toward better, brighter horizons, or deep pits of despair.

….come along to see and hear the WORDS!

An epistolary, musical reimagining of Wuthering Heights by Branwell Brontë — the tubercular, alcoholic and opium-addicted brother of Emily Brontë. When Branwell — the ne’er-do-well, tubercular brother of the Brontë sisters — discovered that Emily was writing her first novel, he offered to be her editor. Once he realized that he was the model for the alcoholic Hindley Earnshaw character, he reimagined the story as a musical memoir of his own life with Hindley as the hero.

The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children's cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.

The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children's cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.

In an empty room, a slideshow projection of abandoned places plays alongside the narrative of two girls who find themselves on the shores of a pre-apocalyptic paradise. Told through subtitle text that weaves fact and fiction together, the story of a massacre unfolds. When the image and text malfunctions and the story is no longer comprehensible, the video wanders away from the room of the slideshow, allowing us to see what is happening elsewhere.

Excess, 2009

A rumination via handwritten index cards and an assortment of images recalling histories and ambitions of varied film productions.

The temperature in your eyes will rise when you contract ‘FEVER DREAMS’ and experience the haunted mayhem contained therein.

This title comprises The Stone Boy (2011), Nonsensical (2014), and Coffee, Tea, and Wizardry (2015) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

See a boy turn into a tiger. See the lad vomit colors of the rainbow. Watch him toss marbles onto wet bathroom tiles while holding up a green skull. See him squirm on warm bedsheets, wearing only soiled socks on his feet…… This kid has a mouthful of flowery words to spit out to you !

This title comprises Witchery (2008), The Tiger (2009), Swan Song (2009), Medusa's Gaze (2010) and Opal Essence (2010) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

Future From Inside is the last in the trilogy begun in 2016, by Dani and Sheilah ReStack (also including Strangely Ordinary this Devotion and Come Coyote.) The work traces the ReStack collaboration, as it manifests in life and in work.

Future From Inside is the last in the trilogy begun in 2016, by Dani and Sheilah ReStack (also including Strangely Ordinary this Devotion and Come Coyote.) The work traces the ReStack collaboration, as it manifests in life and in work.

"i am very grateful that my 鬼鎮 (Ghosttown) series has shown internationally over the last couple years and is recognized by viewers, reviewers, critics, and curators as doing decolonizing work as a feminist project that queers and glitches the Western genre. 鬼鎮 (Ghosttown) questions the quintessentially American Western in the forms of experimental films and games that are made from glitches and noise, pushing boundaries of legibility and tipping over threshold states of stability.

God's Men, 2016

Flesh and blood souls breathe forth the colors of doubt, guilt and a hope for "peace of mind" in a world without moral directions... This video is about strength and weakness, done with human forms assembled and lovingly digitized.

This title comprises The Poet's Battle (2016), NightSchool (2015), Ascension (2013), Lost Blues (2014), and A Rented Space (2015) which were compiled into this form by Mike Kuchar in 2022.

Goodbye Thelma synthesizes footage from the 1991 film Thelma & Louise with footage of the author’s own making to create a mysterious, and at times disturbing, exploration of traveling alone. In contrast to the dramatic events of Thelma & Louise, this story is one of suspended fear, which inverts stunning vistas into unsettling and uncertain landscapes.

A collection of unidentified individuals is stuck together on a boat. Are they going home? Where is their home and why are they so silent? This short work takes a look at a displaced and uprooted community.

Shot in Portland International Airport. Animation by Jalal Jemison.

"In Haysha Royko, three people sit nonchalantly in airport chairs, while their different-colored auras, or something much like auras, shape shift, overlap, and compete."

— Emily Hall, The Stranger, July 17th, 2003 

Healing, 2012

The video hovers tentatively between therapy, documentary, poetics and mystic traipsery and ends, like all good things, in surrender to song. There is a challenge presented (the challenge to engage earnestly with the piece as it requests) to fall into the breathing and pacing presented, and the challenge to view the video as a discrete piece of art at the same time. The piece relies heavily on the text, the disembodied Virgil through which the words become musical, instructive and (due to the absence of image) visual.

"By way of lush formal and associative shifts, Hearts Are Trump Again evokes the ever-present tension between seemingly polarized states of experience. Desire and repulsion; freedom and constraint; pain and pleasure all find articulation in images of ferocious dogs and mock conversations about childbearing. Tonally complex and viscerally rich, Hearts Are Trump Again is a lyrical exploration of emotional weather."

— Brett Price

Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a mircrocosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity.

"... Basma Alsharif’s Home Movies Gaza, a film that captures the impossibly politicized domestic sphere of the Gaza Strip, under the constant hum and buzz of overhead drones."