In this interview, American filmmaker, teacher, and video artist Peggy Ahwesh (b.1954) delves into the key figures and primary texts that have inspired her work in Super-8 and video since the 1970s. She discusses her early influences as a member of the underground art scenes in Pittsburgh in the late 70s and Soho’s Kitchen in the 80s. Ahwesh’s experimental hand-processing and controversial subject matter can be traced to feminist theory, and her exposure to underground experimental films, including works by Werner Herzog, George Amaro, Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith and her teacher at Antioch College, Tony Conrad.
My subconscious has melted away and seems to have been replaced by the muted, jangled chorus of my microbiome. I'm not sure if this condition is rare or widespread. I expect it is widespread and that our microbiomes are battling with our subconsciouses for supremacy. There is no battle in me, though. My subconscious is gone. Human Events is a series of works reflecting on this condition. It proceeds through a chain of associations.
Photographer, theorist, and lecturer Victor Burgin lives and works in London. A Professor of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and former Professor Emeritus of the History of Consciousness at University of California-Santa Cruz, Burgin’s work explores the semiotics of meaning in visual art. His books include The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity (1986), In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in Visual Culture (1996) and, as editor, Thinking Photography (1986), Between (1986) and Formations of Fantasy (1986).
Little Radek, the step-dancing Bolshevik; Machera, the Andean Robin Hood, and Maria Spiridonova, the Russian socialist assassin are your guides for Past Leftist Life Regression therapy. In this third Inner Trotsky Child video, narrator Lois Severin— a former Trotskyite turned suburban housewife—attempts to radicalize the personal fulfillment and self-help scene.
In this interview, political and social theorist, Terry Eagleton (b. 1943), shares stories of his Irish upbringing and British education, and sums up his current engagement with art theory, leftist politics, and spirituality under capitalism. With reference to Henry James, Frederic Jameson, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins, among others, this interview spans a vast landscape of literature and social theory.
The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children's cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.
Created in a deadpan presentational style reminiscent of Coonley's faux-instructional Pony videos, the Experimental Philosophy Trilogy fuses a farrago of materials appropriated from stock media archives, chroma-key mischief, and simulated audience polls to illustrate recent findings from the burgeoning field of experimental philosophy, or "x-phi." This controversial young discipline, which takes a burning armchair as its emblem, supplants traditional ways of conducting philosophy with empirical research methods borrowed from psychology and the social sciences.
An ordinary living room with a green screen, TV, and domestic cat serves as the backdrop for this DIY introduction to experimental philosophy. The president of a company is considering a vice president's moneymaking scheme. He says, "Look, I know this program will harm the environment, but I don't care at all about that. All I care about is maximizing profits. So let's start the program." The company adopts the policy, and sure enough, the environment is harmed. Now consider a seemingly straightforward question: Did the chairman of the board harm the environment intentionally?
Is Miley more or less happy than June Cleaver? Given very fragmentary information about the lives of two stereotypical figures with identical emotional states, people tend to give strangely asymmetrical evaluations of the two characters' propensity for happiness and unhappiness. An illustration of a controversial study called "The Ordinary Concept of Happiness (and Others Like It)".
An intrepid academic travels the world, asking people if it is OK for someone to stab a friend in order to test the sharpness of a knife. If one person says it's OK and another says it's not OK, can both respondents be right? This video is an illustration of a multi-layered experiment designed to test the claims of several traditional philosophers that non-experts (folk) tend to hold rigidly absolutist views of morality.
An original program for VDB TV curated by Rachael Rakes and Leo Goldsmith. These striking videos each examine a force of feeling which is beyond emotion or affect, and which often elicit physical sensation.
In The Jungle painfully and sorrowfully tells the tale of an unreliable narrator in a self-imposed exile. Given a grant to study the equivalent of animal cries and whines in jungle flora our heroine has lived for 1,612 days deep in an unnamed jungle. This jungle serves as an extended metaphor for excessive and continual growth and death and fear and sustenance; a metaphorical space of chaos in which the scientist finds solace and which stands in contrast to the human jungle of 'civilization'.
Timely concerns about the future of video, artists’ complicity in the money making system of the ‘establishment,’ and the effect of the camera’s presence on personal encounters, is discussed and debated in this late night video produced by David Cort, Chuck Kennedy, and Skip Blumberg.
A philosopher and intermedia artist, Adrian Piper focuses on xenophobia, racism, and racial stereotyping
“As a black woman who can 'pass' and a Professor of Philosophy who leads a double life as an avant-garde artist, Piper has understandably focused on self-analysis and social boundaries. Over the years her work in performance, texts, newspaper, unannounced street events, videos, and photographs has developed an increasingly politicized and universalized image of what the self can mean.”—Lucy Lippard, Issue: Social Strategies for Women Artists (London: ICA, 1980)