Another chapter in the parallel-leftist-universe of Jim Finn, this video appears to be part of a communist self-help videotape series made in the early 1990's. The series author, Lois Severin, was responding to the move from mass sociopolitical engagement of the 60's and 70's to the personal fulfillment fantasies of the 80's – the Jane Fonda-ization of the Left. But these tapes were not merely a desperate attempt for Trotskyites to stay relevant in the neoliberal era. They were mimicking the Christian fundamentalist activists who organized in churches and community centers in the 70's.
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.
Irreverent yet poignant, The Eternal Frame is a re-enactment of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as seen in the famous Zapruder film. This home movie was immediately confiscated by the FBI, yet found its way into the visual subconscious of the nation. The Eternal Frame concentrates on this event as a crucial site of fascination and repression in the American mindset.
"The intent of this work was to examine and demystify the notion of the presidency, particularly Kennedy, as image archetype...."
The film centers on the images of the Gulf War, which caused worldwide outrage in 1991. In the shots taken from projectiles homing in on their targets, bomb and reporter were identical, according to a theory put forward by the philosopher Klaus Theweleit. At the same time it was impossible to distinguish between the photographed and the (computer) simulated images. The loss of the 'genuine picture' means the eye no longer has a role as historical witness. It has been said that what was brought into play in the Gulf War was not new weaponry, but rather a new policy on images.
"How can the distinction between "man" and "machine" still be made given today's technology? In modern weapons technology the categories are on the move: intelligence is no longer limited to humans. In Eye/Machine II, Farocki has brought together visual material from both military and civilian sectors, showing machines operating intelligently and what it is they see when working on the basis of image processing programs. The traditional man-machine distinction becomes reduced to "eye/machine", where cameras are implanted into the machines as eyes.
“The third part of the Eye/Machine cycle structures the material around the concept of the operational image. These are images which do not portray a process, but are themselves part of a process. As early as the Eighties, cruise missiles used a stored image of a real landscape, then took an actual image during flight; the software compared the two images, resulting in a comparison between idea and reality, a confrontation between pure war and the impurity of the actual. This confrontation is also a montage, and montage is always about similarity and difference.
Artist Rabih Mroué looks back at old audio recordings, which were made by him and his parents to be sent as audio letters to his brother while he studied abroad. The old recordings become the site of a political critique of the packaged values of communism, resistance and martyrdom.
A woman recounts her story of the mass exodus of Palestinians from Jerusalem. Beginning with the arrival and ending with the departure, the tale moves backwards in time and through various landscapes. The events are neither undone nor is the story untold; instead, Farther than the eye can see traces a decaying experience to a place that no longer exists.
Fences Make Senses re-stages and interrogates international barriers and borders using the bodies of non-refugees. Through a series of rehearsals, Barber aims to have privileged bodies experience the themes, situations, and ideas that refugees frequently face. This video was produced in response to the great number of documentaries the artist witnessed that interviewed the unfortunate in their impoverished conditions. Kept in limbo and squalor for years these refugees are casually disliked by their ‘host’ country.
"On January 22, 1987 an unjustly convicted Budd Dwyer grasped onto the pages of his final speech as Pennsylvania's State Treasurer before shooting himself in front of news cameras. Our current year of armageddon, recession, and occupation resonates as a fitting time to step into Budd's shoes (and perhaps others who sought freedom the same way.) I set up a mini news conference with antiquated, glitchy analog cameras, mixers, players, and decks with the goal of recording Budd's speech in one take.
Jim Finn’s films and videos have been described as “Utopian comedies.” In the four works that comprise Jim Finn Videoworks: Volume 2, the comedy that emerges through Finn's (not so) exaggerated interrogation of the products and symbols of authoritarian State identity gives way to a more solemn and ominous look at the machinations of the State as it seeks the domination and pacification of its publics.
John Smith’s Flag Mountain records a vast flag, the insignia of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, painted onto the side of the Kyrenia mountains overlooking Nicosia, the divided capital of the former island nation. The flag, situated in what is officially understood under international law to be 'Turkish occupied' northern Cyprus, is accompanied by the legend 'Ne mutlu Türküm diyene' ('How happy is he who can say “I am a Turk”').
"The Flag is the second part of a video series about the state-controlled national day ceremonies of the Turkish Republic. Shot during the April 23rd Children’s Day celebrations, which mark the establishment of the new Turkish Parliament, and hence the official demise of the Ottoman Empire back in 1920, this split screen film documents a pompous patriotic performance devised by elders to be performed by children.
Forbidden to Wander chronicles the experiences of a 25-year-old Arab American Christian woman traveling on her own in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the summer of 2002. The film is a reflection on the complexity of Palestinian existence and the torturously disturbing “ordinariness” of living under constant curfew. The film’s title reflects this, as the Arabic words used to describe the imposed curfew “mane’ tajawwul” literally translate as “forbidden to wander”.