Politics

2014

Sections 1-30 of an incomplete extended poem describing the artist's connection to the radical black tradition. The completed poem will be formed of 180 sections.

"Lessons are all about constraints; they are thirty seconds, must feature a black figure, and I have rules about where to make cuts, how to edit sound, etc."
— Martine Syms in conversation with Aram Moshayedi, Mousse Magazine

2016
Lessons: XXXI-LX

Sections 31-60 of an incomplete extended poem describing the artist's connection to the radical black tradition. The completed poem will be formed of 180 sections.

"Lessons are all about constraints; they are thirty seconds, must feature a black figure, and I have rules about where to make cuts, how to edit sound, etc."
— Martine Syms in conversation with Aram Moshayedi, Mousse Magazine

1999

Letter to a missing woman, based partly on memories of someone who has been a political fugitive since 1983, combines documentary "evidence" and fiction in an imaginative reconstruction of public documents and private history. This is a quiet, obsessive piece addressing the human costs and repercussions of re-inventing oneself – one’s body, memories, and future – as a living piece of propaganda. The writer/narrator of this "crazy letter" is an unreliable one, a composite of half-truths, paranoid digressions, and feelings of loss.

2002

Letters, conversations: New York-Chicago, Fall, 2001 is driven by a fragmented voice-over that criss-crosses between two female voices – one seemingly formal and distant, the other more conversational and intimate. It begins with short excerpts from emails, phone conversations and letters between friends, family, ex-lovers and acquaintances in the days and weeks following September 11th, 2001.

2012
Les LeVeque Videoworks: Volume 3

In Les LeVeque Videoworks: Volume 3, Les LeVeque explores time and the way in which it can be manipulated to affect the communication of emotion. In the first video, pulse pharma phantasm, LeVeque collapses 9 different pharmaceutical commercials into one another to the point that they cease to communicate relaxation or relief and instead create a visual cacophony whose erratic pulsations become almost hallucinatory. LeVeque’s point is to problematize the systematization of appeals to consumers through the use of tropes for the communication of comfort and tranquility.

1977
Lewitt, Sol: An Interview

American, minimalist painter Sol Lewitt (1928-2007) used the grid as a foundation for his many artworks. Seeing himself in the role of architect or composer, Lewitt was most concerned with the concept behind the piece rather than the final product. His geometrical compositions stripped away extraneous information and presented the bare essentials.

2009
Lighthouse

Lighthouse is about the labor system and the factory town in Southern China and how individualism is influenced by the social and political infrastructure. Guangdong District is the largest Metropolitan area in one of China's wealthiest provinces, and one of its cities, Guangzhou, attracts farmers from the countryside looking for factory work. The viewer is led to actively compose narratives through the poetic and the sublime images. It opens borders that separate cultural, linguistic and historical differences in the global labor systems.

2000
Little Flags

Cohen shot Little Flags in black and white on the streets of lower Manhattan during an early-’90s military ticker-tape parade and edited the footage years later. The crowd noises fade and Cohen shows the litter flooding the streets as the urban location looks progressively more ghostly and distant from the present. Everyone loves a parade—except for the dead.

2009
a little girl dreams of a new pluralism

a little girl dreams of a new pluralism meanwhile the old war continues V.1  2009, 67:00

1986
La Lucha

In La Lucha (the fight), families struggle to cope with frequent deportations and the constant threat of INS sweeps that, in the end, completely dismantle the community. Following up two years later, Hock reports their triumphs and setbacks. The video ends with hope—but no real promise—of a brighter future for those living on the unrecognized margin of society.

This title is also available on The Mexican Tapes: A Chronicle of Life Outside the Law

1969

In October 1969, the Videofreex visited the home of wealthy political and social activist, Lucy Montgomery, as she was hosting the Black Panther Party of Chicago during one of their most fraught times — the period just after Chairman Bobby Seale was wrongfully imprisoned for inciting riots at the Democratic National Convention a year earlier. This particular video documents a discussion with Lucy Montgomery herself interviewed by David Cort, one of the Videofreex.

1990
John Malpede: An Interview

John Malpede is a performance artist and Director of the Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), a performance art and theater group whose members include the city’s homeless. Through LAPD, Malpede provides an opportunity for homeless people to articulate the reality of their lives for themselves and audiences. Malpede was well known for his collaboration with performer Gill Gordh as Dead Dog and Lonely Horse. In one performance he took on the role of a street person, contrasting the wealth and excess of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles with the city’s struggle against homelessness.

1988
Laura Kipnis, A Man's Woman

This fictional docudrama—based in part on the careers of Anita Bryant, Phyllis Schlafly, and Marabel Morgan—covers the fictitious assassination of Clovis Kingsley, a powerful, pro-family, anti-feminist ideologue, and fictional author of The Power of Total Submission. The narrative is reconstructed in fractured and contradictory flashbacks by those who knew her best and liked her least. The tape travels beyond the faux biography to suggest that the logic of anti-feminism is a strategy of the disempowered.

1995
Manifestoon

Displaying a broad range of Golden Age Hollywood animation, Manifestoon is an homage to the latent subversiveness of cartoons. Though U.S. cartoons are usually thought of as conveyors of capitalist ideologies of consumerism and individualism, Drew observes: "Somehow as an avid childhood fan of cartoons, these ideas were secondary to a more important lesson—that of the 'trickster' nature of many characters as they mocked, outwitted and defeated their more powerful adversaries.

1990
Marx: The Video

Kipnis describes this tape as "an appropriation of the aesthetics of both late capitalism and early Soviet cinema—MTV meets Eisenstein—reconstructing Karl Marx for the video age.” She presents a postmodern lecture delivered by a chorus of drag queens on the unexpected corelations between Marx’s theories and the carbuncles that plagued the body of the rotund thinker for over thirty years. Marx’s erupting, diseased body is juxtaposed with the “body politic", and posited as a symbol of contemporary society proceeding the failed revolutions of the late 1960s.