Fifth Annual Video Marathon

Public Program
Jan 11, 2003
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
From History to Memory: Some Views from the Video Zone

Video Zone, the 1st. International Video Art Biennial in Israel took place last November. About one-third of the screenings that took place in the Tel Aviv Cinematheque were labelled Peripheral Video and these featured curated programs from China, Africa, South America, Central and Eastern Europe, and New Zealand.
A recurrent theme in the programs, as well as in works from my own periphery, was the subject of historical changes as defining a collective or personal identity—a theme quite rare in North American and Western Europe art, but unquestionably central in places where historical and cultural changes are still common.
This program collects a few of these works. I’d like to thank Video Zone’s guest curators, Piotr Krajewski, Deborah Lawler-Dormer, Joseph Backstein and Shulin Zhao for introducing me to these and other fascinating video works

Curated by Sergio Edelstein, Director of the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv

Jozef Robakowski, Z mojego okna (From My Window) (1978-1999, b/w, film & video, 20:00 min., Poland)
I have been working on this film since 1978, when I started living in a flat situated in the so-called Manhattan in the center of Lodz. From time to time I would ‘look out’ of my kitchen window with a film or video camera at a huge square which became the hero of my ‘notebook.’ In spite of me, constant changes and various social and political events kept taking place in that square. I was also interested in the everyday lives of the people who had something to do with the square. Twenty years have gone by since I shot the first frames of that film. The time accumulated on film became the protagonist of my venture. In 1998 the City Authorities decided to build an international hotel in our beautiful square. Its construction is currently under way. Now the view from my window encompasses only a fragment of the hotel wall. In 1999 I decided to end these film chronicles.

Boaz Arad, Miki Kratsman, 21:40 (2000, 6:20 min., Israel)
The film is a series of reconstructions of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination by passersby at the scene of crime. Each has his/her own vague scenario of the event, and must complete the missing details.

Huang Yan, One hundred moments of removing buildings in Beijing city of China (2001, 10 min., China)

Renata Poljak, Souvenirs (ŒMEMORIES) (1999, 7:30 min., France/Croatia)
The video’s main concern is the father figure in the private as well as public-political senses. An artist is writing and rewriting the words Tito, Tata, (“daddy”) obsessively. The auditory as well as visual similarities of these words prompt the artist to repeat the action over and over again. Acoustic quality turns into a mantra-like, repetitive sequence whose sound covers the words’ content. The rhythmic repetition of the sound and gesture of scribbling the words Tito and Tata, turns the words into sound material for a pop song to which the artist is dancing.

Piotr Wyrzykowski with Iliya Chichkan, Atomic Love (2002, 4:45 min., Poland/Ukraine)
A couple of lovers in their pursuit for extreme experiences go to Chernobyl. In the closed area, on the contaminated ground, they make atomic love at the x-ray(te) of 50-120 micro Roentgen per hour.

Rongotai Lomas & Philip Peacocke, Te Ika A Maui (2000, 2:00 min., New Zealand)
Rongotai Lomas’ Te Ika A Maui retells a well-known Maori legend through digital animation. Maui decides to go fishing in a waka (canoe). He baits his magic jawbone and catches a huge fish. Te-Ika-a-Maui (the great fish of Maui) is the North Island of Aotearoa. Some tribes in the South Island believe that the South Island was the waka and Stewart Island the anchorstone.

Agnese Bule, Discover Latvia (2000, 13:00 min., Latvia)
An excursion in Latvian history and the Latvian present recounted in a symbolic (tree/barrel) language.

Maxim Tyminko, Conversation (1998, color, 8:00 min., Byelorussia/Germany) (English subtitles)
A conversation among four friends, who seem somewhat uncertain about whether to believe all this moon travel business. Does the fact that one of their compatriots apparently was the first one in space make things more credible? Has he actually been there? Or was he only on TV? It is even rumoured that the Americans never actually landed on the moon, that it was all a hoax, fabricated with the help of Hollywood. We see their heads in close-up like jerkily animated still photographs against a revolving horizon of dull high-rise apartment buildings. We can_t hear their voices, but there are subtitles (in Russian) and super-titles (in English), so we can learn what is being said in this intriguing conversation that was recorded on July 26, 1997. Then again, who is to say that is true?
Conversation participants: Andrey Dureyko, Anton Slunchenko, Lyosha Terehov, Maxim Tyminko

Olga Chernysheva, Marmot (1999, 3:00 min., Russia)
A Communist demonstration in Moscow. Traffic, flags, slogans, sounds of ideological statements.
One of the women participating in the demonstration suddenly stops on the side of the street, looking as if she forgot something. She starts to behave strangely, as though she is searching or fingering something. In this stance of pure autism she falls behind the demonstration and slowly disappears, embracing Stalin’s portrait.
The soundtrack consists of street sounds and the melody of Beethoven’s Marmotte.

Irit Garty & Isaac Layish Tower (2002, 15:00 min., UK/Israel)
At the center of Tower is a modernist high-rise built in the late 1960s in Tel Aviv. Shalom Tower was for 22 years the highest building in the Middle East and served as a monument for national pride as well as a recreational center. Today the building is, for the most part, deserted, and all its attractions have closed. Stills and locked off shots of the building serve as a backdrop for the narration of stories. Some of these are personal; others have their origins in the media or in rumors (mainly pertaining to technological, cultural and national obsolescence). The stories are read out by a mechanical alter-ego – the storyteller’s computer, that, through its role as narrator, tries to assess its own cultural identity and that of the “original” storytellers who are trying to deal with death, memory and a physical distance from their country.

1:30 PM to 3:15 PM
Re-envisioning Dissent

Selected from Art in General’s submissions, this program brings together images and ideologies of political dissent. From cooptation of media images to metaphoric responses, these artists find new means of envisioning politics in visual culture.

Norman Cowie, Welcome to New York (2002, 26:00 min., NY)
Welcome to New York focuses on the influence of a conservative think tank, the Manhattan Institute, on New York during the 1990s, and the response of citizens to the corporate-friendly policies of the Giuliani administration. With text, music, found footage and interviews, the tape is an irreverent essay on a neo-liberal vision of urban life that has been marketed throughout the world.

Mary Patten, Letter to a Missing Woman (1999, 4:00 min., IL)
Letter to a Missing Woman is based partly on memories of someone who has been a fugitive for 17 years, filtered through an imaginative reconstruction of public documents and private history. This is a quiet, obsessive piece which deals with the repercussions and human costs of deciding to re-invent oneself—to rewrite one’s body, memories, and future—as a living piece of propaganda.

Jayce Salloum, part 3b: (as if) beauty never ends… (2002, 11:22 min., Canada/Lebanon)
A more ambient work of many things, including orchids blooming, and plants growing, superimposed over raw footage from post-massacre filmings of the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon. With the voice over of Abdel Majid Fadl Ali Hassan (a 1948 refugee living in Bourg El Barajneh camp) recounting a story told by the rubble of his home in Palestine, the tape permeates into an intense essay on dystopia in contemporary times.

Paul Chan, Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization (2002, 17:00 min., NY)
An experimental animation project that combines the work of outsider artist Henry Darger with the philosophical writings of utopian socialist Charles Fourier.

Sébastien Pesot, Démocratie (2001, 5:30 min., Quebec City)
An experimental video testifying to the repression engendered by economic globalization and its repercussions on democracy. Images shot in Quebec City at the Summit of the Americas in April 2001.

Damian Catera, Weapons Of Mass Banalization (2002, 2:50 min., NJ)
This video explores the role of mass media in the dumbing down of complex issues for an increasingly gullible public.

15:15–17:00 Transmediale International Media Art Festival, Berlin
A compilation of fifteen of the best international videos from Transmediale ‘02. Transmediale is a platform for artistic and critical reflection on the role of digital technologies in present-day society. The festival provides a forum for communication between artists, those working in the media, and a wide range of experts and offers a stimulating environment for the presentation of major new digital culture and projects.

Harald Holba, Pool_2 (2001, 5:00 min., Austria)
Winner of the Transmediale Award 2002, Ex Aequo
This 3D animation highlights the emotional tension of a stress situation by presenting an individual’s perception in an ‘ego-shooter’ perspective, well-known for computer games.

Matt Hulse, Hotel Central (2000, 11:00 min., UK)
Hotel Centraal surrealist short whose dramaturgy works similarly to the psychological mechanisms of a dream, without concrete narration but with many interweaving fragments.

Shawn Chapelle, Heather Frise, Objects are Larger than they Appear (2000, 5:00 min., US/Canada)
Objects are Larger Than They Appear uses a strongly experimental visual language and deals with a trip to Mexico, travel companionship and—above all—leaving home in order to find it again.

David Leister & Guy Moss, Ritual Tendencies (1998, 8:00 min., UK)
Ritual Tendencies shows the heredity of relationships and behavior in a family b observing two generations during a garden barbecue.

Laurent Vincente & Thomas Bernardet, Le doubre (2000, 1:30 min., France); Les Doubres
(2000, 1:30 min.), *Honorary mention transmediale.02; *_Archiskate_ (2001, 5:00 min.); wawawa.barcelon (2001, 4:00min.)

An amazing skating-without-skateboard movie is shown together with three of their other pieces all portraying subcultural processes and attempts to grasp ‘the self and the city.’

Fan Yuk Man, Born in HK with my won Techniques (2000, 5:00 min., Hong Kong)
The trans-national importance of the skater culture and hiphop scene in a metropolis like Hong Kong is documented in this video.

Les LeVeque, 4 Vertigo (2001, 9:00 min.)
A condensation of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo into a kaleidoscopic quadruplication at the rate of one frame every two seconds.
Honorary Mention Transmediale.02, and winner Public Vote award, Transmediale.02

Anita Sarosi, Sárkány (Dragon) (1999, 3:00 min., Hungary)
Dragon conveys the artist’s impression of a dragon by visualizing sounds with an electronic oscillograph.

Jorge Cosmen, Naturaleza Muerta (Still Life) (2001, 4:25 min., Spain)
The anatomical and psychological study of a dead lizard floating in a pond.

Robert Hardy & John Rowley, Sound Effects of Death and Disaster (2001, 6:00 min, UK)
An actor performs pre-recorded sound effects in bleak suburban environments.

Gadrun Kemsa, Merry-go-round (2001, 6:40 min., Germany)
Merry-go-round focuses on the subjective perception of time and motion as well as on the energy of artificial light.

Maia Gusberti & notdef, AIR. E (2001, 5:00 min, Austria)
An audio-visual journey across electronic power lines which gradually become more and more abstract, until only raw graphic elements remain.

5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
MONOCANAL: Selections of New Spanish Video Art, 1996-2001 from Reina Sofia, Madrid

Monocanal provides a glimpse of contemporary video art in Spain including the varied contemporary genres of the medium. Curated by Berta Sichel (director of Audiovisuals, Reina Sofia), Juan Antonio Alvarez Reyes (art critic and curator) and Neus Miró (art critic and independent curator from Barcelona).
Monocanal is being presented at Renia Sophia in the spring of 2003 in expanded form, and will include over 45 tapes.

There have been few occasions in which the video works of Spanish artists as a whole have been put on view together. In 1987, Renia Sophia mounted a major show titled La imagen sublime, Video de creación en España 1970/1987. This was the first exhibition to grant center stage to a medium which was just then in a phase of rapid expansion. It was the precedent for a second exhibition held in 195, Señales de video, also organized by the Renia Sophia, which surveyed the characteristics of Spanish video art produced from 1987-1995, with 40 works by 34 artists.

Tere Recarens, Tere Spain (1999, 0:32 min.)
That everything is reversible, that it is feasible to invert the codes that govern our conduct at any place and time…these are habitual assumptions for Tere Recarens. After getting lost in an airport and disoriented by the multiplicity of signs, Recarens surrenders to an impulse to hop onto the moving luggage conveyor, to the bemusement of passengers and security men. It’s a summons to converse with space, to not let time escape, to unmask the absurd, to get carried away… by the circumstances, by the unforeseen, on a whim, defying all the rigidities in our path, and upending reality in real time.

Jordi Moragues, Una Nit/One Night (1997, 26:09 min.)
What love could be more forbidden than that between Coke and a Pepsi? Two of the most universal icons of modern life, famous for the merciless commercial rivalry, return as Romeo and Juliet recast as soda. Assisted by music and a smattering of well-known references, the bottles become heroes of a poignant love story. __One Night_ is essentially entertaining, with lashings of irony, comedy, and creativity.

Manuel Saiz, Video Hacking (1999, 5:00 min.)
Video Hacking is the account of an aesthetic intervention in the video rental circuit. The video pirate-hero explains the alteration of meaning imposed upon some images in Hitchcock’s 1959 classic, North by North-West in the scene where Cary Grant confronts Eva Marie Saint in the woods. The pirate, inspired by Magritte’s La carte blanche, has digitally added some impossible tree trunks onto a video-rental copy, which stand in the characters’ way. The modified tape is then returned to the store, to undermine the convictions of some cinephile in the comfort of his own home.

Pilar Albarracín, Prohibido el cante (2000, 6:20 min.)
This performance is one of a series that seeks to revise and update the stereotyped image of Andalucía and its culture. Prohibido el cante is an action that defies the official ban (largely lifted in our day) against song and self-expression in public. Here, song is transformed into a shout, a primal expression, to concentrate on the purest transmission of feeling: a lament, a sigh, a sob, translated into the sounds of war. The traditional polka-dot dress becomes camouflage gear, the heeled pumps become army boots, and the struggle continues to the strum of the guitar.

Valeriano López, Estrecho Adventure (1996, 6:22 min.)
Estrecho Adventure consists of two parts. The first is an electronic animation that sets out the conceptual, discursive and aesthetic framework of the project, presented as an arcade-style video game starring Abdul, a Moroccan emigrant who comes to Europe seeking a better life in the “western paradise.” He confronts an obstacle course beginning with the Straits of Gibraltar. The second, documentary section is a short epilogue to the first in which we see Moroccan children excitedly playing a video game in a café. The principle of fiction against that of reality, or, the clash of virtual and social realities.

Alonso Gil, An Error Occurred (2001, 11:54 min.)
An Error Occurred has all the characteristics of both film and documentary. It also something more: a close look at the poetics of the picaresque, of wit, tragedy and failure. Relying on narrative and poetry, it offers a perspective that is distanced, critical and yet doesn’t comment on modes of survival in an ever more hostile and precarious world. The outdoor cafés of Seville are the scene of the various episodes in which we see desperate characters singing and playing for the tourists, a capella or with the aid of percussion on a tin can or a corrugated cardboard guitar, all for the sake of a few coins.

El Perro, WAYAWAY, Logística para el transporte de carga humana (2001, 4:00 min.)
Images still pack a strange punch of verisimilitude, even when all traces of innocence have been wiped from the viewer’s gaze. It is in this contradictory fissure that the El Perro collective finds its irony. WAYAWAY: Logística para el transporte de carga humana tackles emigration. With superb digital resolution and 3-D effects, it recycles commercial slogans and phrases like “WE CAN’T CHANGE YOUR DESTINY, BUT WE WILL TAKE YOU THERE,” in a multi-layered work which deploys caustic humour to mount a sharp critique of the role developed countries play in this exchange.

Lluis Escartín, Texas Sunrise (2002, 17:20 min.)
The nomad photographer and video poet Lluis Escartín presents a subtle road movie in a montage of landscapes of the American Southwest, held together by the passionate words of an invisible hobo-philosopher named Johnson Frisco. Frisco invokes the lost values of Indian peoples, their devout refusal to exploit or own the earth, as the model for his choice to dump the computers of a system which he considers indiscriminately bureaucratic-militaristic-fascistic. His NO makes him a free man – a “functional anarchist” in a society of fearful conformists. The post-apocalyptic images of human litter and natural beauty suggest the latency of forces stronger than greed or destruction.

Juan Carlos Robles, Escalador (2000, 2:30 min.)
For almost two hours, the camera records the irregular, patchy descent of people on the down escalator of an airport. In this video, Robles uses the transit of passengers as the paradigm of a new concept of contemporary space. The piece suggests that the notion of the city, and of mobility across urban space, which has been expanded by the virtual space of the new technologies. The rhythms counterpoising the smooth motion of the escalator and the fidgeting of the people it carries are recorded in a fixed shot that unlike earlier works, unfolds in slow motion, causing a crisis in our perception of time.

6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Dinner Break: Parterre Extraordinaire

A garden parterre (an ornamental arrangement of flower beds in various shapes and sizes) is the inspiration for Paco Rodriguez’s performance at the Marathon this year. Described as a ‘roving edible formal garden,’ this sculptural event will serve to both feed and amuse the gallery audience during an intermission. Drawn from classical garden features such as topiaries and hedges, the movable sculptures in Parterre Extraordinaire will dispense nibbles to the crowd.

7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Art in General Submissions: Program I

Organized by Art in General’s Video Advisory Panel: Neil Goldberg, Sandra McLean, Rachel Melman, Jeanine Oleson and John Thomson.

Drew Heitzler, September excerpt from Subway Sessions (2001, 6:00 min. excerpt, NY)
Using the surf film as a model, the decaying neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens are romanticized until August turns to September and the buildings fall down.

Tom Gleeson, The Letter (2001, 8:00 min., NY)
This internal dialogue explores the period of time after a relationship, when the (former) object of one’s desires lives on in one’s head, but not in one’s live.

Matt Wolf, Golden Gums (2002, 13:30 min., NY)
Golden Gums probes the inner workings of an indulgent post-adolescent psyche.

Erika Yeomans, Hardhead Flair (1998, 5:00 min., NY)
Hinting at a narrative described as a spooky little advertisement gone awry, with de riguer 70’s pop references.

Hackworth Ashley, Magic Mountain (2002, approx 4:00 min., TN)
This video was inspired by an experience the artist had outside a taco bell when he was nine years old.

Joseph Maida, Hotshots (2000, 4:50 min., NY)
The artist uses his younger brother’s video footage of a college party to deconstruct the sublimated desires of two guys doing shots of alcohol for the camera.

Samuael Topiary, Reeperbahn (2002, 14:00 min., NY)
In this experimental documentary, a Jewish-American videomaker visits her close friend, a German dancer who lives on The Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s red-light district.

Oreet Ashery, Why do you think I left? (2002, 20:00 min., UK)
Ashery asks each member of her family why they think she left Israel at the age of 19. The responses expose not only a specific family dynamic, but also common Israeli attitudes towards immigration, shaped according to the different generation.

Frédéric Moffett, Hard Fat (2002, 23:00 min., IL)
A conversation with Rick, the world wide web’s most celebrated gainer. Gainers are men who purposefully gain weight because they enjoy inhabiting a fatter body. The video explores the gainer’s bodily transformation in order to challenge our preconceived notion of desire, beauty and masculinity.

21:00–22:30 Art in General Submissions: Program II
Organized by Art in General’s Video Advisory Panel: Neil Goldberg, Sandra McLean, Rachel Melman, Jeanine Oleson and John Thomson.

Monica Panzarino, #!%@? (2001, 4:20 min., NY)*
#!%@*? appropriates an Ice Cube song as a means of exploring the current demeaning attitude towards women in American popular culture.

Abbey Williams, YES (2002, 4:05 min., NY)
Tracing the line between the ecstasy and constraint of consumption, Williams attempts to break down the fuzzy binary of our yes-or-no culture, by labeling the differing levels of her desire while riding the MTA.

K8 Hardy/Wynne Ryan, tv lipsynch (2002, 6:00 min., 2002)
The artists perform confused fantasies born out of women’s television programming, placing themselves in the role of the everyday hero inherent in the genre.

Patrick Martinez, In the Heat of the Morning (1996, 3:00 min., France)
The artist sings David Bowie’s song into a showerhead, warping the words.

Becca Albee, Long Program (2000, 3:08 min., FL)
In homage to the marks that cover an ice skating rink, the Zamboni follows a gracefully choreographed routine while smoothing the surface to the theme song from Ice Castles.

Julio Soto, Invisible Cities (2002, 6:13 min., NY)
Imagine a post-apocalyptic generic urban center. Imagine interiors covered with vines, water and vegetation. Imagine an omnipotent camera, ubiquitous, panning and dollying through urban landscapes of surreal imagery. Abandoned buildings, ruined urban centers, deserted cities, nature taking over every space around.

Kyra Garrigue, Ice (2002, 1:30 min., NY)
Ice is part of an ongoing series of videos that reconstruct atmospheric sounds into musical structures.

Erika Vogt, Architecture of Riot (2002, 14:00 min., CA)
A video about the former California State Building, which, although vacant, remained a strong architectural presence until it was razed in April 2002. The video closely examines the duality inherent in the modernist institution: a structure built out of a desire for change but ultimately destined for failure. Stillness is juxtaposed with movement, and moments of discovery give voice and presence to the building’s past and symbolic significance.

Dave Choi, Space Godzilla vs. Fong Sai Yuk (2001, 0:45 min., NY)
A re-working of the original Godzilla image, the artist creates a city of ordinary materials using sound from a Jet Li movie since he couldn’t find an undubbed copy of the original film.

Peter Geschwind, Sound Cut (2002, 2:00 min. excerpt,Germany)
Short sequences of daily household activities. The footage and its original sound was edited by following the structure of a Dead Kennedys song.

Shin Il Kim, Bow (2001, 2:00 min., GA)
It is one of the pieces about the concept of emptiness, particularly the reduction of form to represent a form without ever fully revealing it.

Michele Beck/Jorge Calvo, 440.0 Hz (2001, 3:00 min., NY)
440.0 Hz was shot with a spy camera that was placed inside the artist’s mouth. The artist then walked down busy streets in New York City and recorded what s/he saw through his/her mouth.

Brent Evans Arnold, Thoughts2 Movie (2002, 1:15 min., NC)
An investigation of layers and patterns as well as an introspection on love.

Fritzie Brown, A Typist’s Tale (2000, 5:45 min., NY)
A narrative, fashioned from found footage that recalls the internal dialogue of an anonymous typist or perhaps an anonymous artist.

Traci Tullius, Some People Never Learn (2001, 3:09 min. excerpt from loop, NY)
“Half this game is 90% mental.” -Yogi Berra

Tali Hinkis, Behind Sacred (2002, 1:40 min., NY)
Behind Sacred was shot at the women’s section of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem focusing on the women walking to and from the Holiest place for the Jewish people creating a unique rhythm between the Holy and the mundane. The sound is a remix of a live performance by Israeli singer Victoria Hanna.

Cybele Clark-Mendes, La Bailarina (2001, 3:00 min., MI)
In La Bailarina, a prepubescent girl dances provocatively to a popular dance song in the company of several adult males.

Ofri Cnaani, Both Members of This Club (2002, 4:00 min., NY)
A hard to define physical dialogue between two women that fluctuates between violence and intimacy.

Tricia McLaughlin, The DAY/NIGHT UNIT (2002, 5:00 min., NY)
The DAY/NIGHT UNIT has all of the basic necessities for living. The rule of the land is governed by natural light. When the sun goes down the occupants must wheel their houses around to get to their beds. They can do this ONLY when the sun goes down. If they try to do otherwise, the rest of the citizens will set them straight. This is a unit for conformists.

10:30 PM to 12:00 AM

Dance Party with SQUARESQUARE
Live performance by SQUARESQUARE and DJ Sara Walker. SQUARESQUARE will be responding to innovative sounds selected by DJ Sara Walker. Armed with two laptops and a video mixer SQUARESQUARE mixes and scratches video much like a DJ, in this performance SQUARESQUARE will also be patching in sound samples directly into the DJ set, creating no barriers between the audio and video. SQUARESQUARE is on a mission to move you pixel by pixel.

Project Description:

Fifth Annual Video Marathon