Chicago Art

A Day for Cake and Accidents features a cast of animal characters — each of a different, though often indeterminate, species — who struggle with impending astrological despair and engage in absurdist dialogs, confessing various melancholic desires and transgressive secrets in poetic cartoon abjection.

A Day for Cake and Accidents is the third in a series of short collaborative animations.

Agoraphobic is a portrayal of a specific case of New-Age impotence. The agoraphobic's pathology manifests itself as a need to drink his victim's blood in order to move from place to place. Set in an office interior, Agoraphobic becomes a play on the patient / therapist relationship, suggesting an imbalance in the transfer of baggage. 

"I'm not going to go to the Anne Frank House—I don't think I could take it—being a tourist is bad enough—though I'm not really a tourist—I'm here working—my camera's the one on vacation—taking holiday sounds and images—it's having a nice change of pace—for me it's still the same old thing—talking and talking.

"Ever on the lookout for learning opportunities, Reinke envisions an art institute where you don’t have to make anything, and with a library full of books glued together. All the information’s there—you just don’t have to bother reading it!"
—New York Video Festival (2002)

 

Ashley, 1997

Animal Charm's Ashley seems to develop a conventional story about a modern mother and wife with typically modern desires. But the insertion of incongruous soap opera scenes soon ensures that the seductive images take on an absurd and oppressive charge. “The antiseptic cleanliness of the imagery has a superficial appeal, but begins to feel claustrophobic — or toxic — after prolonged exposure.”

The BLVD, 1999

An experimental documentary about the street drag racing scene on Chicago’s near West Side. This is a rambling textured film about obsession. It is about the mythos of speed for its own sake, but it’s also about waiting, and it is through waiting that The BLVD exposes community, inner-city landscapes and nomadic experiences of place. The film treats storytelling as a living medium for determining history. And it commands respect, for those who transform cars, or anything else, through passion.

Phyllis Bramson (b.1941) is a Chicago painter whose post-imagist style emphasizes content and the deeply personal. Bramson’s paintings are private scenarios that include figures (or performers) who carry out highly charged activities with strong psychological meaning. They perform in highly theatrical, Oriental settings of almost cubist space and acid greens, yellows, and reds.

Roger Brown's (1941-1997) quirky, stylized paintings were influenced by such disparate sources as comic strips, hypnotic wallpaper patterns, medieval panel paintings, and early works of Magritte. His work is epitomized by a series of claustrophobic urban scenes with their drop-curtain-like gray clouds and cardboard-box apartment buildings, suggesting an amalgamation of boyish enthusiasm for model making and adult despondency. In 1996 he donated his apartment, complete with all of his belongings, artworks, writings, and automobile to the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where it is on public display.

The Chocolate Factory is a suite of monologues in the voice of a fictionalized serial killer, one monologue for each victim. The camera, with an almost structuralist rigor, pans up and down simple line drawings of each of the seventeen victims. A Black Sabbath song, picked apart and extended, serves as punctuation and soundtrack. Reinke has described the video as, "My autobiography as Jeffrey Dahmer."  But really, as the narrator says, "It's all about the victims."

"You are invited to Jim’s party! Snake optional."

--Cinematexas Festival (Austin, 2001)

"Three more sing-alongs, this time with swans, a snake, and the Red Army Chorus."

--L.A. Freewaves Festival

This title is also available on Jim Finn Videoworks: Volume 1.

The small cruelties of a subliminal fog roll in.  A pandemic thwarts intimacy. Perched from their little planets, this cast of wildly colorful creatures question their futures and navigate the longing for connection.

This is the fifth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke.

Danny, 1987

This video is a moving personal documentary about Danny, a friend of Kybartas who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1986. This powerful work explores the reason for Danny’s return home and his attempts to reconcile his relationship with his family members who had difficulty facing his homosexuality and his imminent death. Retracing Danny’s memory of his once-high lifestyle in the clubs and gyms of Miami, Danny avoids sentimentalizing its subject as it juxtaposes images, text, and voice-over to build a sense of the psychological struggle brought on by Danny’s impending, premature death.

Appropriated network-TV footage of Jimmy Carter’s "I see risk" speech from the 1980 Democratic Convention meets Reagan’s gloomy inaugural ride through D.C.: "If you succumb to a dream world, you’ll wake up to a nightmare."

This title is also available on Presidents and Elections.

Executive produced by Sara Diamond at the Banff Art Centre, co-produced by Michelle Baughn and Suzanne Lacy, directed by Tom Weinberg and Dick Carter, and edited by Holen Kahn.

el güero, 2001

"A refreshing look at karaoke, psychedelic dance moves, and donuts all mashed together into a small and swinging film about a man who considers his private thoughts and private jokes worth sharing with a large audience. And it's unlikely that many would disagree."

--Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2001

This title is also available on Jim Finn Videoworks: Volume 1.

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.

Family Court introduces us to the world of good, clean, family fun and leisure. 

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 2, Hot Mirror Mix.

In 1973, Dan Sandin designed and built a comprehensive video instrument for artists, the Image Processor (IP), a modular, patch programmable, analog computer optimized for the manipulation of gray level information of multiple video inputs. Sandin decided that the best distribution strategy for his instrument "was to give away the plans for the IP and encourage artists to build their own copies.

Decidedly low-tech, this optical abstraction begins with a shot of an aluminum reflector inside a lamp; a lightbulb in the shot’s center flicks on and off. As the video plays on, nearly identical shots are superimposed, but at a steadily decreasing scale, resulting in an array of nested rectangles. The rhythmic blinking of intense light- accompanied by audible clicks from the plastic light switch- presents the viewer with a swift progression of blinding geometries, (with) dizzying effects.

-- Michelle Grabner, Artforum, May 2010

 

In a meditation on the sexuality of the readymade, an off-camera artist forces one object into another.

“The best evidence yet that obscenity is easier recognized than defined.”

— Anne Reecer, Cinematexas (Austin, 2003)

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

"i am very grateful that my 鬼鎮 (Ghosttown) series has shown internationally over the last couple years and is recognized by viewers, reviewers, critics, and curators as doing decolonizing work as a feminist project that queers and glitches the Western genre. 鬼鎮 (Ghosttown) questions the quintessentially American Western in the forms of experimental films and games that are made from glitches and noise, pushing boundaries of legibility and tipping over threshold states of stability.

Habit, 2001

Habit is an autobiographical documentary that follows the current history of the AIDS epidemic along dual trajectories: the efforts of South Africa’s leading AIDS activist group, the Treatment Action Campaign, struggling to gain access to AIDS drugs and the daily routine of the videomaker, a veteran AIDS activist in the U.S. who has been living with AIDS for more than ten years.

In this video diptych, Snyder uses image and music to depict opposing forces in semi-abstract terms. Exploring processes of fracture and permutation, Hard and Flexible Music contrasts two groups of images, gridded architectural structures and fluid natural imagery, on opposite sides of the screen. The experimental music soundtrack carries two synthesized tracks with differing musical qualities.

This title is only available on Bob Snyder: Sound and Video 1975-1990.

Hole, 2002

A portrayal of retail-workers engaged in a repetitive act of hiding merchandise in a hole in the wall.

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

A hyper-collage endurance test of sado-masochistic proportions, mixing an anthology of corporate video music with a feng shui video.

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 2, Hot Mirror Mix.