Death and Dying

In this video, made soon after the death of his mother Stella, we accompany George to the wake, and on to a trip to Albert Maysles holiday home on Fisher's Island.

"Deep waters flow around the living, dead and inanimate objects that bring this picture to life on the wide screen tapestry of electronic reality. Come and join the young and old of eastern energies as they bask in the sun and shadows of past sins and future fortunes. See how the other side lives and devours the fruits and nuts that pepper this great nation with neon nutrients worthy of Broadway and beyond!"

The police phoned. They left a message on the machine. They said he was dead. The video unwinds through stories of sex for rent, unclaimed bodies, cigarette burns, and other monuments of life’s long run from wall to wall. Cut the Parrot is three grotesque comedies in one: the stories of Gerry, Susan, and Albert. Songs of hope and heartbreak spill from the mouths of the performers. The order of impersonation rules.

Dad’s Stick features three objects that my father showed me shortly before he died. Two of these were so well-used that their original forms and functions were almost completely obscured. The third object seemed to be instantly recognizable, but it turned out to be something else entirely.

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.

A portrait of risk and language, DAREDEVILS, presents the experimental narrative of a writer as she interviews a well-known artist and feels the reverberations of their discussion throughout her day. Visually spare, still and verbose, the video considers three formal handlings of language—a dialog, two monologues and a song.

Starring KimSu Theiler, Flora Coker and Adam Robinson, shot by Matthew Thompson, and featuring the voices of Susan Howe and Jenny Graf, DAREDEVILS constructs a metaphor of an artist’s life and work as daredevilry.

Distracted Blueberry follows a performance art band through a series of poetic encounters. Masculine tropes are undone to form a relationship between male sexuality and the human death drive. The body, violence and humour are positioned in the larger context of nothingness and somethingness, bridging a tension between externalized anxieties and the terrors of nature. Evocative of inner emotional states, strange landscapes exist as reflections of our shared dreams and nightmares.

Viewer discretion advised 

Draft 9, 2003

"This movie was collected for four years before being sprayed scattershot over 28 minutes of psychic mayhem. The line between living and dead is a frontier crossed and re-crossed here. The living are dead while the dead are animated, breathing, swimming, giving birth. Consumed by the animal life of the city, the artist undertakes a first person journey, producing diary notes from one of the most skilled lens masters of the new generation. The camera is her company in this duet of death, the instrument that permits her to see the impossible, the unbearable, the invisible."

During 1998 and 1999, Pelon participated in various Internet newsgroups and lists where suicide is the main subject. Stories unfolded as the film was made; some reached the point of no return. The subject of suicide is very candid on the Internet, due to its anonymity and the freedom it allows from the usual taboos around the subject. The newsgroups and lists have become a relatively safe place for the many people that find themselves isolated because of their interest in the idea of suicide.

The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children's cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.

The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children's cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.

Elegy, 1991

It’s the first day of autumn, and Gibbons can already smell death in the air. Leading us and his dog Woody on a walk through a cemetery, Gibbons voices his obsessive thoughts of death and destruction saying, “I want to be a leaf; I want to fall from a great height and crush whatever I land on.” Waxing weirdly philosophical, Gibbons satirically tries to impress the concept of mortality on his dog; the video, shot in Pixelvision, approximates his dog’s black-and-white vision.

A fantasia that makes twisted use of elements from the Elektra myth and vampire stories. Imagine a woman listening to Richard Strauss's Elektra while watching Carl Dryer's Vampyr and the dream she might then have that night. The protagonist imagines herself as Elektra. She has an unhealthy obsession over her dead father Agamemnon. She also passionately despises her mother Clytemnestra, as she is the one who murdered her father. Elektra exhumes the ax used to kill her father in his bath.

Epilogue: The Palpable Invisibility of Life is the final chapter in The Blindness Series, a body of eight videos on blindness and its metaphors that was begun in 1992. The inspiration for the series came from a 1990 exhibition Jacques Derrida curated for the Louvre Museum, titled Memoirs of the Blind.

An homage to the death of the soap opera, The Evil Eyes is a 1960's era story of a grandmother faced with her mortality, a mother in mid-life crisis, and a son realizing his sexuality - a dysfunctional family whose unspoken angst manifests in the latest episode of their beloved supernatural soap opera, Before Dawn.

The Fancy, 2000

The Fancy is a speculative, experimental work that explores the life of Francesca Woodman (1958-1981), evoked by the published catalogues of and about her photographs. Structural in form, the video radically reorganizes information from the catalogues in order to pose questions about biographical form, history and fantasy, female subjectivity, and issues of authorship and intellectual property.

In the spring of 1988, video-maker/activist Gregg Bordowitz tested HIV-antibody positive. He then quit drinking and taking drugs and came out to his parents as a gay man. This imaginative autobiographical documentary began as an inquiry into these events and the cultural climate surrounding them. While writing the film, a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and his grandparents were killed in a car accident. The cumulative impact of these events challenged his sense of identity, the way he understood his own diagnosis, and the relationships between Illness and history.

A detective is hired to find the original copy of a lost ancient book. The book recounts the tale of a plague. A form of radiation, unknown at the present time, activates a virus. The virus affects the sexual and fear centers in the brain and nervous system; fear is converted into sexual frenzies which are reconverted back into fear, the feedback leading in many cases to a fatal conclusion.

"On January 22, 1987 an unjustly convicted Budd Dwyer grasped onto the pages of his final speech as Pennsylvania's State Treasurer before shooting himself in front of news cameras. Our current year of armageddon, recession, and occupation resonates as a fitting time to step into Budd's shoes (and perhaps others who sought freedom the same way.) I set up a mini news conference with antiquated, glitchy analog cameras, mixers, players, and decks with the goal of recording Budd's speech in one take.

In Final Exit, an aged one is confronted with his options in blunt terms. Does he want to drag out his existence, increasingly infirm and a burden to his caretakers, or go quietly before resentment overwhelms sentiment? Does he wish to go on living, the quality of his life increasingly diminishing, or be euthanized? Would he prefer cremation or burial? This video confronts the issues of mortality and advancing decrepitude that faces even the friskiest.

The foliage and sprouting of urban greenery becomes the subject of this celebration to all things pollinated. The video explores hidden gardens that lie sequestered amid an array of dwellings inhabited by the not so rich and famous. Felines creep amid the blossoms as human entities enrich the soil with their leaking desires.

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.

Made in Ireland, October 8th, 2001.

A disorientating experience while attempting to watch the TV news in an Irish hotel room triggers a spontaneous response to the bombing of Afghanistan.

Frozen War is the first episode in the Hotel Diaries series, a collection of video recordings made in the world’s hotel rooms, which relate personal experiences and reflections to contemporary conflicts in the Middle East.

Gossip, 2011

Rebecca gazes into the crystal ball. It is afternoon in a Brooklyn neighborhood of industrial buildings. Rebecca has a way with words just as words have a way of seeking her out. The crystal ball intensifies this. The A train rumbles over the Manhattan Bridge. Rebecca gazes into the crystal ball. Nighttime in a suburban neighborhood of burnt out buildings. Words have a way with Rebecca just as Rebecca has a way of seeking them out. The crystal ball intensifies this.