Found Footage

Last Man, 2020

Last Man is made of the raw footage of security cameras that stream online. During the spring 2020 lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dana Levy, who lives in New York, monitored the images transmitted live from security cameras in city centers and at airports, beaches, universities, restaurants, and zoos around the world. In them, these key venues, which in normal times are bustling with life, appear nearly devoid of human presence.

In 30 Seconds Hate, Fox News and Henry Kissinger want to kill you as a tribute to George Orwell’s 100th birthday. Suckers gives a half-minute history of Halliburton in Iraq.

753 McPherson Street employs both original and found footage to represent a very old, passionate, and sometimes lucrative business — a funeral home, in Mansfield, Ohio. The title refers to its street location situated in Everson’s childhood environs.

Cast: DeCarrio Couley.

This title is only availalbe on Broad Daylight and Other Times: Selected Works of Kevin Jerome Everson.

In this interview, American filmmaker, teacher, and video artist Peggy Ahwesh (b.1954) delves into the key figures and primary texts that have inspired her work in Super-8 and video since the 1970s.  She discusses her early influences as a member of the underground art scenes in Pittsburgh in the late 70s and Soho’s Kitchen in the 80s. Ahwesh’s experimental hand-processing and controversial subject matter can be traced to feminist theory, and her exposure to underground experimental films, including works by Werner Herzog, George Amaro, Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith and her teacher at Antioch College, Tony Conrad.

A charred visitation with an icy language of control: "there is no room for love". Splinters of Nordic fairy tales and ecological disaster films are ground down into a prism of contradictions in this hopeful container for hopelessness.

— Michael Robinson

At the heart of Alone With You is the notion of impassioned avarice, i.e. the kind of motivated acquisitiveness that drives both erotic desire and obsessive collecting.

"This is the first of a set of pieces that involve combining a series of electronic video process recordings, musics, texts and appropriated materials. These multiple elements, simple and tricky grammars, trigger expanding electronic narratives. The trajectories and drags of multiple narratives color the electronics and visa a versa.

as the waves play along with an invisible spine (the workers die) is a stroboscopic work that pulsates black and white at approximately 14 Hz. Buried within that field of pulsation is a 90 second algorithmically condensed version of John Huston's 1956 film Moby Dick. Huston's minimal close-ups of the doomed sailors flicker as afterimage ghosts as approximately 4Hz in the visually unstable field of alternating black and white frames.

So long as the creature lives

it must carry forth its vertebrae

as the waves play along

Ashley, 1997

Animal Charm's Ashley seems to develop a conventional story about a modern mother and wife with typically modern desires. But the insertion of incongruous soap opera scenes soon ensures that the seductive images take on an absurd and oppressive charge. “The antiseptic cleanliness of the imagery has a superficial appeal, but begins to feel claustrophobic — or toxic — after prolonged exposure.”

Babeldom, 2012

Babeldom is a city so massive and growing at such a speed that soon, it is said, light itself will not escape its gravitational pull. How can two lovers communicate, one from inside the city and one outside? This is an elegy to urban life, against the backdrop of a city of the future, a portrait assembled from film shot in modern cities all around the world and collected from the most recent research in science, technology and architecture.

"It’s a complex architectural vision equal parts awesome and terrifying… This is a film – and city – to get lost in."

Body Prep, 2001

Body Prep helps fortify and support the body during any level of activity—low, medium, or high intensity. It compares various alternatives to weightlifting with natural and artificial light sources. Exercise is explored through the change of seasons.

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 3, Computer Smarts.

Brite Tip, 2001

"Brite Tip explores the indoctrination of children and police through an assortment of cross-fades, wipes, and other stock transitions. A highly danceable essay on breastfeeding."

—Gavin Smith

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 3, Computer Smarts.

A video that observes the thrill, terror, and boredom found in watching mass spectacles, and the unexpected loneliness when you miss them. This video speaks of both the power and the failure of the televised experience to bind us to one another.

The union of humankind and the camera is a long and sordid tale. This lyrical dance illustrates the inseparable nature of the two.

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 3, Computer Smarts.

A family embraces the heart of evil in this Poltergeist re-make/drag show, circa 1992.

In part a remake of Hollis Frampton’s Gloria! (1979), in part a repurposing of hacked, 16-bit video game technology, The Well of Representation asks us to reconsider our fear of the liminal. Following the convergent narratives of several voices, ranging from the linearly historical to the cybernetically personal, we come to understand the journey ahead: searching from interface to interface, knowing that whatever home we find will be a collaborative compromise. One where we might live beyond our representations and finally come to say what we mean.

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

We have come to this place of meaning together, celebrating our un-remaindered completeness. Yet, in our wake endures a long procession of stowaways: misspoken sounds we unconsciously omit, the limitations of our alphabet, the ignored gaps of an imperfect analog, and most recently, these forgetful bits of the virtual. We celebrate the lineage of our information as we celebrate one another, not realizing that the loudest affirmations might come from these unacknowledged, unavoidable participants. With each generation, they say a little bit more, speaking a little bit louder.

Communists Like Us is an ambient music video made from a few seconds of archival footage of Mao Zedong applauding and members of the Red Guard chanting. The title Communists Like Us was taken from the 1985 text of the same name written by Felix Guattari and Toni Negri.

By accident, the content of a computer encyclopedia is transferred into the brain of an animated parrot resulting in the emotional breakdown of a fine peach.

"I would never have known how to do anything on my computer if it wasn't for Computer Smarts."

—Mark Roth

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 3, Computer Smarts.

Covid Messages is a video in six parts, based around broadcasts of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 press conferences. The work focusses on the British government’s attempts to eliminate the virus through the use of magic spells and rituals. While the pandemic spreads and the death toll rises, the Prime Minister makes repeated errors of judgement. Exasperated by his many mistakes, the spirits of the dead rise up and intervene.

Appropriated network-TV footage of Jimmy Carter’s "I see risk" speech from the 1980 Democratic Convention meets Reagan’s gloomy inaugural ride through D.C.: "If you succumb to a dream world, you’ll wake up to a nightmare."

This title is also available on Presidents and Elections.

Starting out as equal parts authors, editors and thieves, the Disambiguation project began when two artists were invited to curate a screening together.  Since they live in separate cities, Chicago and London respectively, they decided to swap and re-edit files of video and audio material from their own archives by post.  Animations, pornography, songs, downloads and fragments from their own back catalogue were passed back and forth across the Atlantic to be chopped and sequenced into an exquisite corpse of swapped signals.

This film uses the ‘old fashioned’ conventions of documentary film practice to stand history on its head. There is a narration taken from a radio lecture by Claude Lévi-Strauss entitled, “The Meeting of Myth and Science,” images from the Deutsche Wochenshau of June 25, 1940 that recorded Hitler’s dawn visit to Paris, images from American newsreels, a movement from one of Beethoven’s Rasumovsky Quartets. The film could only succeed, in my mind, if the imprint of prior usage of all elements was clear.

An anti-narrative adventure traveling through a phantasmagoric environment void of stability. The video presents a bizarre compendium of archival and industrial footage accompanied by a noisy soundtrack of music and voices from the past, as if echoing the ether of the viewer’s mind. Thornton’s distinctive visual style of collaging random elements elicits an eerie sense of being lost amidst past and present, breeding a confusion that complicates any clear reading of the image.