Politics

2002
Phyllis Kornfeld: An Interview

In this interview, Phyllis Kornfeld, author of Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America, describes her initial interest in working with prisoners in her native Oklahoma City, stemmed from an exploration of outsider artists. Detailing her first visit to a high security prison as a ‘mind blowing and breathtaking’ experience, Kornfeld discusses how she came to her realization that prisons are fertile environments for free form experimentation with the teaching process. She learned that through personalized art education, inmates could teach themselves to make positive contributions to society. - Kyle Riley

1980
Barbara Kruger: An Interview

At nineteen, Barbara Kruger (b. 1945) worked as a commercial artist designing for Conde Nast. The risky combination of contemporary art, commercial appeal and social critique runs throughout Kruger’s photography, readings, poetry, collages, and conversation. Her works uses advertising both as a foil and a format. Language and image work together, referencing the manipulations of the advertising media.

1999
Steve Kurtz: An Interview

Steve Kurtz is a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble and Associate Professor of Art at University of Buffalo. His areas of focus are contemporary art history and theory as well as post-studio practices. As a student Kurtz collaborated with Steve Barnes on low-tech videos, which they developed into a broad-based artist and activist collective known as the Critical Art Ensemble.

Interview by Gregg Bordowitz.

A historical interview originally recorded in 1999 and re-edited in 2005.

1993
Carol Leigh: An Interview

During a conference in the late 1970s, Carol Leigh (also known as the Scarlot Harlot) coined the term “sex worker.” Now, it is a fundamental part of the lexicon regarding all worker’s rights and this is owed in large part to Leigh’s artistic and activist career. Working primarily through the medium of performance and video – her work attempts to educate and broaden audiences’ understanding of sex work and the fundamental rights sex workers deserve. This interview is a distillation of those aims.

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.