DVD program notes
VIDEO ON THE LOOSE :: Freewaves and 20 Years of Media Arts
4 programs of 20+ artists’ videos that move, amuse or bewilder
POP COP: artists’ responses to television ads, news and authorities - 28:00
DANIEL MASON Targeting Audiences (Makes me Wanna Shoot), 1993 – 1:00
Two Polaroid commercials’ underlying messages are revealed via inserted news footage as an assignment in Cheri Gaulke video class at Harvard Westlake school.
MATTHEW MCDANIEL Media Killa, 1995 – 6:00
A one man video crew interjects himself into the media circuses surrounding TV news coverage of African American celebrities when the L.A. riots erupt.
BLO Barbie Liberation Organization, 1991 – 4:00
TV documents a prank in which the voice boxes from two popular talking children’s toys were gender switched. G. I. Joe speaks with Barbie’s high voice, asking questions such as “Want to go shopping?”
TONY COKES Ad Vice, 1999 – 6:36
Working with both the art collective X-PRZ and the band SWIPE, Cokes employs rock music, lyrics and degraded video images, while blending philosophical platitudes with commercial tag-lines.
AARON VALDEZ The State of the Union (George W. Bush), 2003 – 4:18 :: watch
One in a series that seeks out the essential character of American presidents through the re-edit of gestures, expressions, and speech taken from their respective State of the Union addresses. This year Bush had nothing to say.
ZHOU XIAOHU Ready-made Product of Media, 2003 – 4:00
This claymation epic dramatizes a series of consummate events for Chinese TV newscast cameras. Intimate and political dramas of news have been internationalized.
JACO BOUWER I Love You Jet Li, 2005 – 11:20 :: watch
At an airport in South Africa a young woman waits to fly out to meet cult Kung Fu film legend, Jet Li in this part documentary, part music video and part Fong Kong love story. This dystopian romance explores psychological relationships mixing layers of narrative and media projection.
TROUBLE: Artists willing to broach danger and take it on as a complex subject – 58:00
MARLON RIGGS Affirmations, 1990 – 10:00
An exploration of Black Gay male desires and dreams, Affirmations starts with an affectionate, humorous confessional and moves on to documented and poetic wishes for empowerment and incorporation.
MAAYAN AMIR AND RUTI SELA Beyond Guilt/Atonement, 2004 – 9:00
During 2004 in Israel, the two women artists made contact through a dating website on the internet with the men seen in the video. Every evening they made arrangements with the men to arrive at a hotel room at intervals of thirty minutes to meet them and their cameras.
BROOKE ALFARO Nueve, 2003 – 14:00 :: watch
With the marginal people from the artist’s old neighborhood of San Felipe, Panama, he exposes the vital core of this popular urban sector, in all its pathos, beauty and repulsion through a performance of two gangs, packed with humor, deceit, countless ambiguities and contradictions.
AARON VALDEZ Life and Times of Robert F. Kennedy Starring Gary Cooper, 2006 – 7:51 :: watch
Newsreel footage of Robert Kennedy is overlaid on the classic Hollywood western High Noon. Does Hollywood reflect our political history or do Americans naturally create dramas? Travis Weller composed the wondrous eerie music.
JOHN RICHEY I’m Safe and Dramatics of Safety, 2004 – 1:00 :: watch I’m Safe
The inherent theatricality is accentuated in these appropriated safety brochures, redrawn by hand as animations. The banal information becomes absurd and spectacular objects, environments and projections.
MATT DIBBLE AND DAVID CHUNG Turtle Boat Head, 1992 – 7:30
The bulletproof barrier between a Korean-American store owner and his African-American customers serves as a reminder of their strained relationships. Groceries and money are exchanged through a revolving door but little understanding. History, reverie and products fill the background, like sugarplums.
JOHN DAVIS Between Subjects, 2003 – 8:30 :: watch
Using academic areas of inquiry as departure points for examining contradictions within the American cultural value system, this work synthesizes image and sound designed to evoke simultaneous euphoria and dis-ease post 9/11.
DUAL/DUEL: Conflicts and contrasts coming from different points of view – 47:00
JOANNA PRIESTLEY AND JOAN GRATZ Pro and Con, 1993 – 9:00
Pro and Con succinctly explores the thoughts and emotions of those working and living in our prison system. Two techniques, cel animation and clay painting, give different personal treatments to the two sides of the locked doors.
GUSTAVO ARTIGAS Rules of the Game (excerpt), 2001 – 1:00
Two Mexican soccer teams and two American basketball teams played against each other simultaneously on the same court. The co-existing movements of the high school players effortlessly exhibited the similarities and differences between the two countries.
MEENA NANJI Voices of the Morning, 1992 – 15:00
Growing up under orthodox Islamic law and later under Western norms, a woman tells her tale from her own conflicted point of views. The web of restrictive familial and societal conventions is enunciated, resisting dual traps of daughter or wife, while maintaining love, self and connection.
PORTIA COBB Drive-by Shoot, 1990 – 14:00
Abstract imagery shot from the artist’s car skimming across urban communities in America and West Africa comments on survival and displacement, comparing and contrasting the cultures in the two continents. Text burrows down into issues, histories and questions.
JAMES DUESING Maxwell’s Demon, 1990 – 8:00
The early computer generated animation presents the story of animal-like creatures fighting for their survival when their nearby river lights on fire. Everyone has a joke, complaint or an excuse in this apocalyptic non-environment.
SQUIRM: Body-related, uncomfortable but spellbinding images, sounds and narratives – 45:00
MICHAEL O’REILLY Glass Jaw, 1991 – 20:00
The filmmaker chronicles his recovery from a head assault and his emergency brain surgery. All of the voices, words, music and images are recorded on a child’s Pixelvision camera as the primary image generator and a simple Casio sampling keyboard, maximizing his reduced capacities.
JANICE TANAKA Memories from the Department of Amnesia, 1989 – 13:00
This piece elegizes the artist’s mother whose attempts at balance and security were constantly disrupted by social, cultural and political forces beyond her control. The daughter’s evolving stages of mourning are reflected in the videos’ changing aesthetics and informational modes.
CAITLIN BERRIGAN Teeth in the Wrong Places, 2004 – 7:00 :: watch
Teeth in the Wrong Places combines a Native American folktale with the artist’s slo-mo performance. As Coyote’s seduction unfolds by two young women with gnashing teeth in their vaginas, a mouth slowly chews and regurgitates material with both an ironic sense of humor and magnetic confrontation.
STEPHANE DEGOUTINE, MARIKA DERMINEUR AND GWENOLA WAGON What Are You?, 2006 – 5:00
Driven by an algorithm of a semi-random pairings of words and images, this internet project presented here as a video, generates fleeting resonance among 250,000 falsely stigmatizing combinations, such as zombie nihilist, bling blonde, and nouveau riche regressive.