An intimate, private search for the form, “The Rock” by Étienne de Massy explores both geometry and perception, as in the search for a comparison point between nature’s and human landscape. This portrait of the form is, nonetheless, arbitrary and self-referenced; reminding both the experimental documentary and some sort of indirect, fictional self-portrait.
As the author states: “Filmed in Europe and America, The Rock establishes a link (physical, imaginary, natural and cultural) between different places around the World. It reveals in images a possible relationship between spaces and landscapes.”
One of the strongest notions in modernity and postmodernity is the idea of confinement. The velocity sensation and the apparent mobility given by transportation are nothing but reminders of a non existent destination.
One of the fundational classics of video-art (and mainly of the big format video-art), Island Song (1976) shows the possibility, arbitrarily and almost accidentaly, of a converging space for the live performance and the documentary.
In A Space Exodus, Larissa Sansour quirkily sets up an adapted stretch of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in a Middle Eastern context.
The film follows the artist herself on a phantasmagoric journey through the universe echoing Kubrick’s thematic concerns for human evolution, progress and technology. However, in her film, Sansour posits the idea of a first Palestinian in space, and, referencing Armstrong’s moon landing, she interprets this theoretical gesture as “a small step for a Palestinian, a giant leap for mankind”.
Directed by Matt Lambert in the context of a fashion brand, “Umasan In Transition” is a powerful combination of meticulous choreography and vibrant edition. The story line is beautifuly consistant with the sense of progression and evolution pursued by the film.
Jørgen Leth (born in 1937) is a controversial Danish poet and film director, often considered a main figure in experimental documentary film making. His views have been considered severely politically incorrect although his methods and aesthetic approaches are deeply influential.
Det Perfekte menneske (The Perfect Human, 1967) is centered in a rough dehumanization of the actions and circumstances of the species. A powerful zoo documentary, in which Leth imposes a distant observation on its subjects.
Theodore Ushev is one of the must powerful voices in animation today and one of the must influential artistes on the “off-studio” animation scene. Born in Kjustendil, Bulgaria in 1968 but long based on Montreal, Quebec, Canada, his works are filled with political and social questions, as well as produced with both crafty and digital approaches.
Tower Bowher (2005) is, perhaps, the touchstone on Ushev’s production. He consider it is “my fist professional film”. Although he has been prolific since then, this extraodinaire piece brings a powerful attention to the possibilities of abstract animation. According to the notes of the National Film Board of Canada (production agency to the film): “This animated short by Theodore Ushev is like a whirlwind tour of Russian constructivist art and is filled with visual references to artists of the era, including Vertov, Stenberg, Rodchenko, Lissitsky and Popova”.
William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin lived together at “The Beat Hotel” in Paris. During this period of 1958, Gysin shared with Burroughs the “Cut Up” technique, consisting in aligning paper foldings one over another, then cut random lines over them and reagruping the resulting “pieces” in random or prefigured structures. Burroughs used this techinique since that day to produce either complete novels (as in “Interzone”) or to produce “routines” -as he called the chapters on several of his novels- (as in “The Naked Lunch” or “The White Subway”).
This experimental film by the english director Antony Balch was postumously released after his death and was part of a bigger project he designed with Burroughs as a documentary. The film was deeply influenced by the cut up technique (both on the film editing and on the sound editing) and shows several moments of the work of Gysin and Burroughs at “The Beat Hotel”, as well as several sequences of both artistes “acting” for the film.
Joan Jonas (born in NYC, 1936) brought to video art and video performance the very foundation of its meaning. Her works are as influential as politically compromised, being particularly groundbreaking when it comes to electronic arts and gender prospective.
Vertical Roll (1972) uses a common early television bug (the vertical roll, due to a misconfiguration on the vertical balance of the receptor) to place a question about the construction of the image and, particularly, of the female body; a recurring subject in her work.