Video Art

Harun Farocki – Ein Bild AKA An Image (1983)

Four days spent in a studio working on a centerfold photo for Playboy magazine provided the subject matter for my film. The magazine itself deals with culture, cars, a certain lifestyle. Maybe all those trappings are only there to cover up the naked woman. Maybe it’s like with a paper-doll. The naked woman in the middle is a sun around which a system revolves: of culture, of business, of living! (It’s impossible to either look or film into the sun.) One can well imagine that the people creating such a picture, the gravity of which is supposed to hold all that, perform their task with as much care, seriousness, a responsibility as if they were splitting uranium. Read More »

Gimpo – Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid (1995)

On 23 August 1994, the K Foundation (Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty) burnt one million pounds sterling in cash on the Scottish island of Jura. This money represented the bulk of the K Foundation’s funds, earned by Drummond and Cauty as The KLF, one of the United Kingdom’s most successful pop groups of the early 1990s. The duo have never fully explained their motivations for the burning.

The incineration was recorded on a Hi-8 video camera by K Foundation collaborator Gimpo. In August 1995, the film “Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid” was toured around the British Isles, with Drummond and Cauty engaging each audience in debate about the burning and its meaning. In November 1995, the duo pledged to dissolve the K Foundation and to refrain from public discussion of the burning for a period of 23 years. Read More »

Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir – The Vasulka Effect (2019)

The opening of The Vasulka Effect couldn’t be more apt: Steina Vasulka addresses her husband Woody through various TV screens. He does the same and replies. A perfect image of the relationship between the free-spirited, groundbreaking pioneers of video art. After meeting in Prague in the early 1960s, they relocated from Czechoslovakia to New York, where they later founded The Kitchen, their legendary art and performance gallery. Read More »

Harun Farocki – Ein Tag im Leben der Endverbraucher AKA A Day in the Life of a Consumer (1993)

Harun Farocki plunders 40 years of advertising films, which he orchestrates to constitute an ironic 24 hours in the life of typical consumers. Mixing different colours, periods, various “ideologies of well being” to hold up a mirror up to our times, values, worries, hopes.

This collage of “beautiful images”, gleeful and chaotic, deconstructs not only the domestic reference points which punctuate our daily life, but also gives full rein to an off-beat humour in the tradition of Brechtian distanciation.
(Andrei Ujica) Read More »

Ange Leccia – Azé (2003)

French artist Ange Leccia’s Azé is made of images that seem to be coming from a terrorist hidden in Middle East.
No subtitles, but you don’t need any.

Azé ne conclut en rien ce périple, même s’il en est la troisième étape. Ange Leccia y expose le récit d’un terroriste parti se réfugier au Moyen-Orient. Mais, à l’instar d’Ile de Beauté et de Gold, le scénario se délite pour livrer à l’intuition un ensemble d’images où les choses prennent souvent un caractère pictural. Cette plasticité traduit la curiosité pour l’espace environnant et le transfert possible des signes sous l’impulsion des émotions. Le soleil est ainsi le guide de cette fiction qui donne une version abstraite des films d’aventures romantiques. Sa chaleur va jusqu’à brûler les paysages et la rétine, c’est-à-dire altérer le réel et lui donner l’incandescence d’un mirage. La lumière est un brasier où le voir et le vécu se confondent dans un tremblement érotique. Read More »

Olivier Zabat – 1/3 des yeux (2004)

1/3 des yeux / 1/3 of the eyes
Olivier Zabat / France / 2004 / 70 min

Communicating despite misunderstanding, caressing violence and sometimes being bitten, trying to control death and surviving in the face of irreparable loss, 1/3 of the eyes is a poetic documentary on the contradictory forces present in our society and in all beings human. The different chapters are articulated according to an innovative form which calls for the rigor of the cinematographic essay. 1/3 of the eyes is a sensitive fable which invites the spectator to share a feeling of empathy towards the world. Read More »

Mark Rappaport – From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1995)

Mark Rappaport’s creative bio-pic about actress Jean Seberg is presented in a first-person, autobiographical format (with Seberg played by Mary Beth Hurt). He seamlessly interweaves cinema, politics, American society and culture, and film theory to inform, entertain, and move the viewer. Seberg’s many marriages, as well as her film roles, are discussed extensively. Her involvement with the Black Panther Movement and subsequent investigation by the FBI is covered. Notably, details of French New Wave cinema, Russian Expressionist (silent) films, and the careers of Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, and Clint Eastwood are also intensively examined. Much of the film is based on conjecture, but Rappaport encourages viewers to re-examine their ideas about women in film with this thought-provoking picture. Read More »