Youth/Childhood

Out of the mouths of rural boys, finding the incomparable Mulla Nasrudin in Afghanistan.

A fragmented puzzle of a sinister narrative turned inside out and comprised of digital video, digital video animation, and Super-8, with model animation and human pixelation.

“This is a video about the thing that won’t go away. It has been trying to contact me by altering bits of my reality for several years now, and this seven minutes is a clear demonstration of that. My 8-year old nephew got drawn into the whole thing, and that’s why his voice is on this video. I’m not sure if it’s dead now. We’ll just have to see.”

—Jennet Thomas 

"Inside a Lithuanian synagogue, young Domas Darguzs regales the filmmaker with a whispered, wide-eyed account of mythical events, while the film cross-cuts to images of farm-life. Kid brother of an Israeli soldier, Domas's stories are part fantasy, part hopeful ruminations of a courageous, young mind interrupted only by an impatient adult."

 — KJ Mohr 

Using a psychoanalytic tool from the 1950s, a series of black and white drawings illustrate the adventures of a family of dogs, dramatizing a young girl's appointment with her psychiatrist.

This title is also available on O Night Without Objects.

All About A Girl is a story of a girl coming to terms with aspects of her own identity and how they relate to the expectations of others. The girl tries to balance the real world that she lives in with the world of her imagination as personified by a dead rat. She appears to have more in common with her small, wild corner of the backyard than the pristine world her mother creates around her. 

The innocence of creating a mirror, only to repeatedly crush it underfoot.

This title is also available on Ximena Cuevas: Dormimundo Vol. 1 (Sleepworld Vol. 1), Ximena Cuevas: El Mundo del Silencio (The Silent World), and Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas.

Jennifer, an intelligent but insecure 14-year-old student at a boarding school, seduces her married dormitory counselor, a photographer who has offered to teach her about his art and winds up shooting her in the nude. She is naive, and he manipulates her into an affair that eventually is discovered. Years later, as the photographer is being investigated by the FBI, the adult woman remembers her first love as a case of herself watching the artist who watched her.

Atlanta, 1996

A 12-year-old Olympic swimmer and her mother (both played by July) speak to the public about going for the gold.

“As the film progresses through subtle editing-in-reverse, July reveals the world around the televised facade. ... [T]he 23-year-old performer convincingly plays both Dawn Schnavel and her mom, or rather, vanishes into them. What’s noticeable isn’t so much the ease with which July transforms herself into a pre-teen girl and an older woman but the similarities and differences between the daughter and the mother July becomes.”

automatism and (-)(+) feedback is a 3:29-minute video made from shot footage of a 10-year-old child playing Zombie Smash on a handheld device.  The video footage and sound have been repeatedly rescanned and resampled using a television and a number of old analog video cameras.

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

Baby, 2006

A mother holds her child. Her face barely shows expression.

"I, Soldier is the first part of a video series in which I am dealing with the state-controlled ceremonies for the national days of the Turkish Republic. The nationalistic attributes attached to these large-scale ceremonies are underlined in a non-descriptive and almost voyeuristic point of view. I, Soldier was shot at the National Day for Youth and Sports; the day that marks the start of the independence war of the Turkish public under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, against the Allied Forces back in 1919.

In Birth of a Candy Bar, the young people who worked on the video participate in a pregnancy prevention and parenting program at Henry Street Settlement in New York City. The title of the video comes from a poem that comments on sex and birth by way of names of candy bars. ("...nine months later she had a Baby Ruth.") Poetry, fast-action music, dancing, interviews, statistics, street scenes, and docudramas are combined in segments written, taped, and produced by each participant—personalizing the problems of teenage pregnancy and assessing its causes. 

Blood and Guts in High School features actress Stephanie Vella in a series of video installations* that re-imagine punk-feminist icon Kathy Acker's book of the same title. The book received noteriety from 1978-1982 during the rise of Reagan republicanism and the emergence of punk rock. In Parnes' interpretation, each video-chapter presents a typical scene in the life of Janie bracketed by U.S. news events from the time period in which the book was written.

"The content of the rogue computer animation Boy/Analysis is perfectly illustrated by the integral title, namely, a drastic abbreviation of Melanie Klein's 1961 key study on child psychology. The initial 93 sessions the psychoanalyst booked with a ten-year-old boy, are reduced down to 16 by Reinke, and thoroughly illuminated. Tumbling around, appearing and disappearing against a black background, are text fragments. A score from Benjamin Britten orchestrates this semantic ballet in which the most arbitrary associations can be made.

Bug Girl, 2003

Part science movie, part storybook, Bug Girl is an ecological fable. A young girl has lost her cat. While searching for it she accidentally swallows a bee--her journey suddenly transforms into a visual tumble through nature, biology, and consciousness.

This title is only available on Soft Science.

Fashioned out of home movies recovered from failing hard drives, this glitch-art video makes comparisons between different forms of memory - suggesting that, while error and decay may keep us up at night, they might also be the way we put our ghosts to bed.

-- Evan Meaney

The Videofreex tape a group of young people working on a farm run by Chris Locke and his wife in Shandaken, NY.  After learning how to take care of the chickens, they are taught how to kill and pluck one.  Later they sit down for a communal dinner, and one of the group exclaims "Mmmmm, tastes good!"

 

Addressing the camera, Segalove confesses to plagarizing her 5th grade report, The Story of Coal.

From the performance by the same name, by Suzanne Lacy, Julio Morales and Unique Holland, with Kim Batiste, Raul Cabra, Patrick Toebe, David Goldberg, and Anne Maria Hardeman, Oakland, 1998-2000.

Deaf Dogs Can Hear is an autobiographical work that traces the tragic yet humourous episodes of the artist as a young girl, and her pet chihuahua. Her love for this deformed and unattractive pet only grows deeper as one tragedy after another befalls the dog and the creature becomes repulsive to all eyes but its owner's.

“Fouteen-year-old bone collector Maxine Rose is looking for validation from her heroes, amongst them the primatologist Jane Goodall, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the New Zealand teen pop star Lorde. Offering them a gift of language, Maxine Rose stands for the desire to be visible and understood, not unlike the desire of an artist. We are particularly impressed by the multilayered story telling structure, the freshness of the characterization, and the honest exploration of an artists` vulnerability." 

D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a hyper-war waged on over 20 million children in the United States. Despite overwhelming evidence of its educational ineffectiveness, D.A.R.E. has gained a religious following among educators and parents, and is the only federally-funded drug education program. D.A.R.E.'s imagistic and psychological assault is based on the presence of uniformed gun-toting police officers in the classroom.

Double Sigh is a video in which my mother reenacts a moment from my adolescence. In confronting the viewer directly, my mother's anger, frustration and sadness are imposed on the audience.

-- Julia Hechtman

This title is only available on Suitable Video, Volume 1.

A domestic portrait rendered at miniature scale, Dust Studies brushes along the edge of what can be seen. Staying close to the ground to collect what gathers there, the film looks deeply for everyday things and finds them drifting in the pleasant, meandering headwaters of a young child's language.

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

Epilogue: The Palpable Invisibility of Life is the final chapter in The Blindness Series, a body of eight videos on blindness and its metaphors that was begun in 1992. The inspiration for the series came from a 1990 exhibition Jacques Derrida curated for the Louvre Museum, titled Memoirs of the Blind.