This compilation is a fresh, witty, and compelling addition to video’s rich legacy of media deconstruction. Through appropriation and reassemblage, these intriguing works upset the hypnotic spectacle of TV viewing by displacing its logic and forcing viewers to make new connections among its codes and conventions. While this disruption is playful, it also reveals the tragic underbelly of corporate message-making—the way it appropriates and suppresses nature and "unpredictability," the way it preys on human vulnerability, and the way it shamelessly celebrates mediocrity and distraction.
A compilation of five of Sadie Benning’s early works. In Jollies, Benning gives a chronology of her crushes and kisses, tracing the development of her nascent sexuality. Addressing the camera with an air of seduction and romance, Benning allows the viewer a sense of her anxiety and delight as she comes to realize her lesbian identity. In If Every Girl Had a Diary, Benning trains her pixelvision camera on herself and her room, searching for a sense of identity and respect as a woman and a lesbian.
Volume 2 includes the pixelvision works made in 1992: A Place Called Lovely, It Wasn't Love, and Girlpower. A Place Called Lovely references the types of violence individuals find in life, from explicit beatings, accidents, and murders to the more insidious violence of lies, social expectations, and betrayed faith. Benning collects images of this socially-pervasive violence from a variety of sources, tracing events from childhood—movies, tabloids, children's games (like mumbledy-peg)—personal experiences, and those of others.
A collection of three remarkable works by Sadie Benning, produced between 1995 and 1998, including German Song, The Judy Spots, and Flat is Beautiful. Shot in black and white Super-8 film, German Song muses on a disengaged youth and grey afternoons spent wandering, and features the hard-edged music of Come, an alternative band from Boston.
The two Social Studies videos call into question fundamental assumptions about the cross-purposes of entertainment: to entertain, to present cultural values, to mediate public policies, and to define social relationships.
In this agit-pop double feature, Cokes celebrates civil disobedience and deconstructs race relations. Cokes inter-cuts political slogans and social facts with an array of footage and juxtaposes the images with pop, rock, and rap soundtracks.
Utilizing a mix of documentary and improvisational styles, the portraits featured in these three videos highlight the often forgotten, the marginal, those on the edge of society. The portraits are equally grotesque, comic and tender, and Cumming’s photography is characteristically unblinking and relentless.
In these two videos, Cumming investigates the worlds of a pair of abject heroes, Colin and Pierre, one a recovering alcoholic, the other an addict. One talks angrily about his former addiction and of the sacrifices he made for the “romance” of a life on the street. The other has lost everything in the name of love, and now tells the tale in a manner both tragic and comedic.
This compilation contains many of Teddy Dibble’s best comic vignettes. Everything is up for grabs in these visual and linguistic puns, including video dating, telephone operators, New Years Eve celebrations, fruit, and the theory of evolution.