African-American

The Diaspora Suite

Filmed on location in Harlem (NY) and Ethiopia, Forged Ways oscillates between the first person account of a filmmaker, a man navigating the streets of Harlem, and the day to day life in the cities and villages of Ethiopia.

In the words of activist Dhoruba Bin Wahad, “Historical and social events are subject to almost instant censorship by those who have better access and control over the medium of communication. It is important that there exist people skilled in the use of the technological instruments of communication who will seek out the real truth behind the headlines and tell it for all to see, know, and hear.”

The Videofreex conducted this interview with Fred Hampton, the Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, in October 1969, just over a month before he was killed by the Chicago police.

Rare footage of a September 1970 rally honoring the late Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. One of the speakers leads the audience in a call and response.

Home, 2008

Home is about disappointment in northern Ohio. The scoreboard depicted is on the grounds of Mansfield Senior High. The sentiment conjures the close call.

This title is only available on Broad Daylight and Other Times: Selected Works of Kevin Jerome Everson.

Taped shortly after the creation of the Air Gallery, this conversation between painter Howardena Pindell and Hermine Freed concerns the women’s independent gallery and its role in the feminist movement. Pindell also discusses the development of her work and the relation between black artists and the art world.

Juliana Huxtable was born in Texas and studied at Bard College, NY. An artist working across video, photography, poetry, and music, her practice demands a reexamination of the canon of art history in order to break the cycle of misrepresentation and under-representation in the contemporary art world.

A formidable collage of striking images, this powerful and provocative work confronts racial violence through images of ecological mayhem, machismo, pornography, and Third World poverty — images which return to the taboo body of a black man. "Directed and produced by our culture," An I for An I studies how violence is internalized and psychologized by overlapping soundtracks, printed texts, recurrent images, doctored footage and split screens. The piece attacks racist culture and pleads for an alternative recourse to violence.

Ike, 2008

Ike is about a person showing their special gift — if pushed. The truth, fiction and lore of a brick thrower with deadly accurate aim.

Cast: Deondre “Champ” Jones, Derron Everson, Anthony Jerrell Jones.

This title is only available on Broad Daylight and Other Times: Selected Works of Kevin Jerome Everson.

 

Incense Sweaters & Ice is a new feature film inspired by the idea that anything one does while being watched is a performance. The film follows three protagonists — Mrs. Queen Esther Bernetta White, Girl, and WB (“whiteboy”) — as they navigate the dramas of surveillance, moving between looking, being looked at, and remaining unseen. How does the ever-present potential image affect the way we act and the way we see ourselves? By examining how cinema now happens in real time, Syms works between the documented and the live to find the lie.

In this 1993 contribution to the On Art and Artists series, artist Art Jones describes his entry into the world of activist media, and the genesis of his belief in the potential for a democratized street-level media. Hailing from the Bronx, Jones recalls his personal dislocation during college, when he began studying film and video at SUNY Purchase. At that time, Jones experienced a cultural isolation, which he mobilized to fuel his practice. This willingness to confront issues of representation and absence, asserting the validity of his own subjecthood, would become a defining characteristic of his work.

Kindah, 2016

The Diaspora Suite

Through distorted audio and visual representations of interviews with music journalists, this video critiques the mass media’s treatment of the rap group Public Enemy, and accusations that their lyrics are anti-Semitic. This experimental documentary includes scenes from Public Enemy performances and music videos, as well as archival footage of the Black Power movement and Malcolm X. Know Your Enemy details the war being waged by black artists on the battleground of representation, a struggle against forms of expression which are already co-opted.

British-Ghanaian, writer, theorist and filmmaker Kodwo Eshun (b.1967) is known for his interest in the electronic mythology of sound. In this interview, Eshun discusses his desire to challenge the predominance of sociological inquiries into the historical and stylistic development of music.  Eshun seeks to establish a model of inquiry that is much more concerned with the materiality of sound.

Lead, 2009

Lead is a tale of an early 20th Century Robin Hood, based on a story by James Williams, involving jumping trains and throwing coal off for needy Southerners.

Cast: Chris Barkley, Hassen Mahamud, Kenny West, James Williams. Cinematography: Jonathan Taee. Sound: Ayesha Ninan.

This title is only available on Broad Daylight and Other Times: Selected Works of Kevin Jerome Everson.

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

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

Awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2014, Rick Lowe is a leading practitioner of social practice art. His Row Houses project is a highly lauded example of relational aesthetics successfully deployed. This interview focuses particularly on that work and the artist’s entrance into social practice.

The Diaspora Suite

Filmed on location in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, NY ( an international stronghold of the African Diaspora), Many Thousands Gone draws parallels between a summer afternoon on the streets of the two cities. A silent version of the film was given to jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee to use an interpretive score. The final film is the combination of the images and McPhee’s real time “sight reading” of the score.

In this 1996 interview, African-American sculptor, printmaker and designer Valerie Maynard (b.1937) describes growing up in Harlem in the mid-20th Century and her awareness of the importance of community during her upbringing. Recalling the prominence of the Baptist church in her early life, Maynard discusses how religion brought her into contact with local politicians who impressed upon her the importance of affecting change. The artist notes how an early affiliation with Congressman Adam Clayton Powell and her brother’s incarceration propelled her interest in social justice and the workings of the judicial system.

An experimental documentary that asks “What is Hip Hop?” Media Assassin deals with popular magazine coverage of the black music scene and efforts to define the new musical forms emerging since the late 80s. The tape focuses on the story of Harry Allen, a former music journalist for The Village Voice, who handled public relations for the rap group, Public Enemy.

Memory Palace is a short video grounded in the personal history of the artist. A discovery of a photo album activates memories of physical spaces, which in turn open doors to reminiscences of past family life. Inspired by the classical method of loci, the film presents a woman — singer/songwriter Alice Smith — at work in Los Angeles.

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 video documents an interview with the wife of Bobby Seale, Artie Seale. The video opens with a statement by Mrs.

My Only Idol is Reality is a video work created from an excerpt of Season One of MTV’s The Real World. The piece uses repetition as a framework for abstraction   re-recording the video between tape

Skip Blumberg of the Videofreex conducts an interview with Charles “Cappy” Pinderhughes, the Lieutenant of Information of the New Haven branch of the Black Panther Party. From the steps of the New Haven headquarters, Cappy publicizes the upcoming Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention set to take place in Washington, D.C. later that week (June 19th, 1970). In addition, Cappy provides a statement to be shared via the Videofreex at the Alternative Media Conference occurring at Godard College in Vermont.