Program 1: Personal Anthology

Learning Stalls (Torsten Zenas Burns and Darrin Martin)

A compedium of special effects-type technical experiments involving rudimentary, morphing, Flash-type animation superimposed onto human forms and exercises on multiple exposure, the amateurish video unfortunately overplays the novelty of wire meshing, image compositing, and dynamic, spirograph-like digital renderings to the point of abstraction and tedium.

 

The Chocolate Factory (Steve Reinke)

An equally uninspired presentation in an overall weak and unbalanced program, the video consists of a deliberative, monotone narrator (presumably a serial killer) speaking with a cold impassivity akin to Lorenzo Music’s voice characterization of Carlton the Doorman (in the television sitcom Rhoda) and the titular character of the cartoon series Garfield, as he describes a series of personal encounters to the corresponding image of a camera languorously (and incomprehensibly) panning up and down a series of mediocre portrait sketches. The only worthwhile moment is a silent panning of a portrait sketch with a postscript that the subject is a deaf mute.

 

Wasted (Scott Russell)

Another crude and amateurish entry, the video is a lowbrow humored, nonsensical compilation of unconnected (and illogical) vignettes, such as the video ‘artist’ putting a plastic bag over his head and creating depressions that project out, then retract upon breathing, and another segment in which he repeatedly mumbles “I am a monster” with a mouth deliberately overstuffed with nectarious food. I personally find this type of pointless, gratuitous, self-congratulatory, and narcissistic creation rather grating and insulting – the antithesis of creating personal art.

 

Lost in Space (Tricia Middleton and Joel Taylor)

Composed of indelible natural imagery and impersonal cityscapes set against an engaging soundtrack (that includes The Carpenters’ Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft and New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle), the video artists create an interesting – if pointedly abstruse – video essay on despair and alienation.

 

Single Beds Vol. 1 Desolation (Ximena Cuevas)

Loosely reminiscent of Chantal Akerman’s early films, particularly the restless isolation of Je, tu, il, elle and the ritualistic housework of Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, and further infused with the disquieting drone of overlapping, indistinguishable sampled narrations in a similar vein as the ambient repetition of the perplexing audio composition, Waiting for Bardot (from the idiosyncratic Crass Records compilation entitled Bullsh*t Detector), the video is a commendable, albeit familiar, portrait of loneliness and estrangement.

© Acquarello 2003. All rights reserved.

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