A weather diary of sorts where my mouth is pretty much shut but the window is wide open to various cloudscapes and local color tinged with a twang. Spring on the prairie with a sprinkling of Porky Pig pixie-powder on the lips of he who crunches in protein paradise.
As regional character disappears and corporate culture homogenizes our surroundings, it's increasingly hard to tell where you are. In Chain, malls, theme parks, hotels and corporate centers worldwide are joined into one monolithic contemporary "superlandscape" that shapes the lives of two women caught within it. One is a corporate businesswoman set adrift by her corporation while she researches the international theme park industry. The other is a young drifter, living and working illegally on the fringes of a shopping mall.
The Videofreex tape a group of young people working on a farm run by Chris Locke and his wife in Shandaken, NY. After learning how to take care of the chickens, they are taught how to kill and pluck one. Later they sit down for a communal dinner, and one of the group exclaims "Mmmmm, tastes good!"
China Town traces copper mining and production from an open pit mine in Nevada to a smelter in China, where the semi-processed ore is sent to be smelted and refined. Considering what it actually means to "be wired" and in turn, to be connected, in today's global economic system, the video follows the detailed production process that transforms raw ore into copper wire--in this case, the literal digging of a hole to China--and the generation of waste and of power that grows in both countries as byproduct.
In this 2001 interview, filmmaker Jem Cohen discusses the origins of his film philosophy, and the circuitous route he has taken in his pursuit of an anti-narrative film practice outside the mainstream. Cohen sheds light on the many influences that have impacted his sentiments towards conventional film, and his desire to eschew both classical avant-garde and theatrical filmmaking in favor of a model rooted in the tradition of the 1940s New York School of street photography. Cohen also locates his aesthetic as being impacted by the 1970s hardcore and DIY scenes he was exposed to as a youth in Washington, DC.
Water and oil form the undercurrents of all narrations as they activate profound changes in the planetary ecology. After the oil peak, ever dirtier, remote and deeper layers of fossil resources are being accessed. Aerial recording of the devastated crust in Alberta opens the view into dark lubricant geologies. Climate change, exasperated by projects such as the Canadian tar sands, puts the life of large world populations in danger.
"This movie was collected for four years before being sprayed scattershot over 28 minutes of psychic mayhem. The line between living and dead is a frontier crossed and re-crossed here. The living are dead while the dead are animated, breathing, swimming, giving birth. Consumed by the animal life of the city, the artist undertakes a first person journey, producing diary notes from one of the most skilled lens masters of the new generation. The camera is her company in this duet of death, the instrument that permits her to see the impossible, the unbearable, the invisible."
A domestic portrait rendered at miniature scale, Dust Studies brushes along the edge of what can be seen. Staying close to the ground to collect what gathers there, the film looks deeply for everyday things and finds them drifting in the pleasant, meandering headwaters of a young child's language.
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.
The Earth Is Young takes as its starting point a series of interviews conducted with Young Earth Creationists, who find evidence of a six-day, six-thousand-year old creation in their reading of the fossil and geological record. The film frames these encounters with depictions of the slow and patient work of young paleontologists, and the strange, shimmering life in a drop of pond water, both of which point toward a world far older and more complex, if no less fantastic.
A short documentary about life in the Everglades National Park with its few male residents. Living in the midst of a national park, they learn to exist with the wild. As a female moving image artist, Dana Levy takes on the role of an anthropologist, observing the men and how they interact with their surroundings. Apart from Levy, the only women that appear in Eden Without Eve are in erotic photographs taken by a resident named Lucky, who believes that women like having themselves put in romantic, exotic, and dangerous settings to be photographed.
"Living on the slopes of the volcano Vesuvius is a strange contradiction: always in stress and yet also sleepy, waiting for what might happen. In close cooperation with the Osservatorio Vesuviano and several inhabitants of the 'Red Zone' of the volcano, Rosa Barba constructs a lyrical portrait of this area, which shelters Mafia members and illegal Chinese immigrants. Historic footage, measurements, maps and aerial shots try to capture what is always uncertain."
The frenzied detritus of trading floors, smart weaponry and the religious right are woven through the petrochemical landscapes of Southeast Texas. This short video harangue questions land use policy as it serves the oil industry, patriotism as it absolves foreign aggression, and fundamentalism as it calcifies thinking.
Everglades is a project Levy began while a resident artist in Florida's Everglades National Park. The unique natural environment of the Everglades has been devastated by decades of wetlands drainage for purposes of industrial and residential development, and today it is threatened by fracking and deep water drilling. At the same time, efforts have been made to restore some of the original ecosystems through a process of re-flooding, not unlike the restoration of Lake Hula in the north of Israel.
Fifeville is a film about a neighborhood in Charlottesville, Virginia. It focuses on the details, gestures, and material life of the citizens of Fifeville as they communicate their understandings of the neighborhood’s changing landscape. Although Fifeville is set in Charlottesville, it could be Any Black Community Experiencing Gentrification, USA, 21st Century.
Ken Kobland has been working in various aspects of film and video since 1971, creating productions in collaboration with performing artists such as Philip Glass, the Wooster Group, Elizabeth LeCompte, and Spalding Gray. His work explores a variety of themes and issues, often embracing a photographic aesthetic within the context of video. Beautifully edited, his work merges diaristic and documentary categories, presenting an art of video that approximates photo-journalism.
This 7-DVD box set contains the following titles from the artist: