Video Art

Jean-Marie Straub – Gens du lac (2018)

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It is the discovery of a document recognising the services rendered by two fishermen from Lake Geneva during the Occupation that triggered the investigation undertaken by Swiss author Janine Massard in her novel Gens du lac, published in 2013. Jean-Marie Straub retraces the itinerary of the son, Paulus – just as he and Danièle Huillet had followed that of Jean Bricard just over ten years ago in the last film they made together. Gens du lac does not depart from the rule that sets each Straubfilm as an account of a historical situation in which men have resisted (Daney). Shot aboard a boat and hardly ever leaving the lake’s waters, the film depicts the life of this only son who has found brothers over the course of his fishing – be it his first steps in the trade, the help given to fugitives and deliveries of provisions to the Resistance, or his contribution to the emergence of a new Left in post-war Francophone Switzerland. Finding the seeds of a political act in this unconditional hospitality, Straub gradually dissipates the peaceful impression and conservative spirit of this “friendly, even emollient” landscape, and distinguishes between the silence “recommended during the hostilities” from the silence that subsequently enjoined people not to disturb the political order. While the people of the lake do not guard a frontier, they do, on the other hand, belong to a front. (Antoine Thirion) Read More »

Peter Rosen – Who Gets to Call It Art? (2006)

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Stupid title aside, this is another recent little documentary which brings together a some rare footage and interviews about the art of the 1960s, the birth of “pop”, and so forth. Not terribly profound, but fun.
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Bill Viola – The Passing (1992)

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A man between daydreaming and nightmaring, between the call of life and the call of death; his night in mid-water, apnea, perfored by a succession of visions…
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Sabine Bürger, Steve Roden & Machinefabriek – Lichtung (2010)

Synopsis
The ‘Lichtung’ exhibition was a three-way project centered around an audio-visual installation. The American visual and sound artist Steve Roden and the Dutch sound artist and musician Rutger Zuydervelt provided the audio whilst the German visual artist Sabine Bürger provided the video element. Additionally each of the artists exhibited examples of their own work on paper addressing the interface between the audio and the visual. Read More »

Lee Seymour – Vagina- an artistic exhibition (2016)

Quote:
What you didn’t know about the greatest museums on earth. Contains explicit nudity! Mature viewers only! That means YOU, eighth-grader! Read More »

Chris Kraus – Terrorists in Love (1985)

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Experimental short by Chris Kraus. Read More »

Chen Chieh-Jen – Lingchi – Echoes of a Historical Photograph (2002)

The title Lingchi refers to a photograph taken by an unidentified western anthropologist according to some, and by a French soldier at the beginning of the 20th century, according to others by others. It shows the execution of a condemned man by Lingchi, a slow torture involving more than a thousand cuts made on the body of the condemned person before death. If he died earlier the executioner was himself put to death. This punishment was practiced in China for thousands of years and was not finally abolished until 1905. A large crowd would gather for the execution, not only to witness the extraordinary spectacle but also to collect blood and strips of flesh from the body, to be used for medical purposes. The photo immediately started to be circulated, especially amongst westerners passing through China and in particular in a set of postcards Les supplices chinois. It was later published in France in Louis Carpeaux’s Pekin qui s’en va in 1913, and then by Georges Dumas in his Traité ! de psychologie in 1923. It was, however, Georges Bataille, who came into possession of a copy in 1925 and for whom, according to his own statement, it was of decisive importance in his life, who introduced it with greater authority into the imagery of western culture when he used it at the conclusion of his last study of eroticism, Les larmes d’eros, published a year before his death in 1961, to demonstrate the identical nature of contraries and in particular of religious ecstasy and extreme horror. Read More »