Death and Dying

2007
Respite

Respite consists of silent black-and-white films shot at Westerbork, a Dutch refugee camp established in 1939 for Jews fleeing Germany. In 1942, after the occupation of Holland, its function was reversed by the Nazis and it became a 'transit camp.'  In 1944, the camp commander commissioned a film, shot by a photographer, Rudolph Breslauer.

1977
Revolve

“Nancy Holt’s Revolve, a videotape where the artist, off-camera, interviews her friend Dennis Wheeler who is dying of leukemia, uses his illness and mental reflection as a metaphysical site. Her interview is recorded from the perspective of three video cameras that each capture Wheeler from a different point of view. The three-point perspective was designed to give the illusion of infinity. Holt’s three-camera perspective grips the observer with the reality of the finiteness of death...

2000
Sea in the Blood

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return.

1973
Search Olga Gold

Originally part of a larger sculptural installation using prospector's tools, this tape reenacts the search for "Olga," a miner's wife who disappeared on her honeymoon in 1936. As Paul and Marlene Kos call out, "Olga... Olga...", the camera scans the Wyoming wilderness, and their search becomes ritualistic, the repetitive calls building in intensity and breaking down into chanted moans.

2008
Silent Among Us

Shot in a local Natural History Museum in northern Israel. 100 white doves fly around cabinets of stuffed birds and other animals. This is a symbol of a culture which is unwilling to let the past go, and lives so naturally with the dead. They stand in silence, but fully present, as we continue living.

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

2006
Steve Kurtz Waiting

On May 11 2004, Steve Kurtz phoned 911 to report Hope, his wife of 20 years, was unresponsive. When paramedics came to his house, one of them noticed that Kurtz had laboratory equipment, which he used in his art exhibits. The paramedics reported this to police and the FBI sealed off his house.

Authorities later said that Kurtz's wife had died of "heart failure," but he wasn't allowed to return to his home for two days while the FBI confiscated his equipment, and biological samples. They also carted off his books, personal papers and computer.

2003

Part cloning experiment, part documentary, Stories from the Genome follows an unnamed CEO-geneticist whose company sequenced the Human Genome in 2003 - a genome that secretly was his own. Not satisfied with this feat, the scientist self-replicates, producing a colony of clone-scientists to save himself from Alzheimer’s. The animated video switches between misadventures in cloning, and a history of equally improbable theories of human development.

This title is only available on Soft Science.

2003
suicide

suicide is 70 packed minutes of a fictional filmmaker's crazed ruminations on travel, family history, death and sex as she traverses a world of malls, airports and train stations, chronicling her fiercely hopeful search for a reason to continue living.

1996
Suicide Box

A documentary video about the B.I.T. Suicide Box — a motion-triggered camera developed by the Bureau of Inverse Technology (a private information agency), and installed within range of the Golden Gate Bridge to capture a video record of anything that falls from the bridge, and provide an accurate measure of the suicide rate. The piece points to confusing roles for technology within contemporary culture.

— Whitney Biennial (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1996)

Spanish subtitled version also available.

2002
Sylvia

Sylvia is a portrait of the civil rights pioneer Sylvia Rivera for her memorial service in 2002, as told by her chosen family immediately following her death. "A veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising, Sylvia was a tireless advocate for all those who have been marginalized as the 'gay rights' movement has mainstreamed. Sylvia fought hard against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York, and was a loud and persistant voice for the rights of people of color and low-income queers and trans people." --SRLP.org

2006
Temple of Torment

There is so much to absorb: the wetness from the sky. The hooded figure in the box. A big plate of pasta, and that chair on wheels. Messages of moral guidance clash with actions that are on a collision course with dilapidation. And through it all the water runs, the fridge is full and hearts yearn for that which mellows the melody of God’s glockenspiel. For the winds of change rattle the bones of the grim reaper as he swings his scythe in rhythm to a cacophony of corruption intrinsic to this orchestra pit of purgatorial preludes and egg laying swan songs.

2013
Very Very End

"In The Very Very End, Barber points to his medium's plastic possibility by somehow traveling into the future and the past nodding to Neville Shute's apocalyptic 1957 novel On The Beach while setting an end-of-days story in a 21st century holiday resort.

1992
Those Fluttering Objects of Desire/Short Version

This video was originally an installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art, part of which included the video collaboration Channels of Desire. Recreating coin-operated porno booths, Channels aired one photo image on seven TVs, interrupted only by the viewer inserting a coin and choosing a segment. The concept behind it was the construction of desire in categorical ways, the form of the piece speaking to sexual desire as something that is constantly evading the viewer. The images present women’s experiences with interracial, lesbian, and heterosexual encounters.

2008
Three Songs of Lenin

Three Songs of Lenin is an 11-minute piece made from three one-second samples taken from the second song We Loved Him of Vertov's film Three Songs About Lenin. Building on Vertov's second song's structural use of moving and still images to articulate a dynamic of Lenin's passing from life to death, this video employs an algorithmic structure where every other frame is the first frame of the one-second sample. The 29.97 frame rate allows us to almost see moving and still images at the same time as an imagining of Lenin haunting the present.

Tom
2002
Tom

A cinematic firestorm of found footage and pilfered Hollywood images, Mike Hoolboom’s hallucinatory Tom – described by the filmmaker as, "Cinema as déjà vu, or déjà voodoo" – pays mesmerizing experimental tribute to the life and work of friend and fellow avant-gardist Tom Chomont, and was selected by a national panel of film critics as one of Canada’s Top Ten of 2002.