Labor

50 Blue, 2009

In 50 Blue a young man (the artist’s brother) pushes an elderly disabled man (the artist’s father) in a wheel chair through a muddy landscape. It is a long and exhausting trip to an unknown destination only discovered at the end. After an arduous struggle the two arrive at the edge of a grey lake where a 10-meter high guard tower stands. The young man ties the wheel chair to a rope and hoists the old man up on the tower platform with the help of eight men, all dressed in yellow plastic raincoats.

72, 2002

72 follows a teenage taxicab driver in Columbus, Mississippi multitasking to keep his job.

Cast: DeCarrio Couley.

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

753 McPherson Street employs both original and found footage to represent a very old, passionate, and sometimes lucrative business — a funeral home, in Mansfield, Ohio. The title refers to its street location situated in Everson’s childhood environs.

Cast: DeCarrio Couley.

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

"Scenes from meetings within a company which advises corporations how to design their offices -- and the work done there. The film shows that words are not just tools, they have become an object of speculation." 

-- Harun Farocki

For over two years we made it our business to document abandoned working gloves on the streets of NYC. The feelings and thoughts that surrounded this activity connected to the ways his family relates to Gregor Samsa as a cockroach, or whatever Franz Kafka intended him to be in The Metamorphosis after his transformation from a productive citizen to a useless insect. When Gregor can't grant them a comfortable life-style any longer, his family starts to resent and hate the once loved and respected provider, finds him disgusting.

Videofreex member, Ann Woodward, provides a bread-baking lesson.

A garage in central Portland, Oregon is the setting for this conceptual re-working of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The garage owner Jay, mechanics and neighborhood denizens serve as narrators, reading lines from the novel that focus on death, love, social inequality and the relationship between individuals and the universe.

China Town traces copper mining and production from an open pit mine in Nevada to a smelter in China, where the semi-processed ore is sent to be smelted and refined. Considering what it actually means to "be wired" and in turn, to be connected, in today's global economic system, the video follows the detailed production process that transforms raw ore into copper wire--in this case, the literal digging of a hole to China--and the generation of waste and of power that grows in both countries as byproduct.

Little Radek, the step-dancing Bolshevik; Machera, the Andean Robin Hood, and Maria Spiridonova, the Russian socialist assassin are your guides for Past Leftist Life Regression therapy. In this third Inner Trotsky Child video, narrator Lois Severin— a former Trotskyite turned suburban housewife—attempts to radicalize the personal fulfillment and self-help scene.

Company Line is a film about one of the first predominately Black neighborhoods in Mansfield, Ohio. The title, Company Line, refers to the name historically used by residents to describe their neighborhood, located on the north side of town close to the old steel mill. The Company Line began during the post–war migration of Blacks from the south to the north in the late 1940’s. The neighborhood was purchased in the early 1970s and its residents were scattered throughout Mansfield.

Though this video segment bears the title Construction Workers Rally, much more than issues of labor are addressed. On May 8th of 1970, approximately two hundred demonstrating construction workers, mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO, had attacked 1,000 high school and college students and others protesting the Kent State shootings, the American invasion of Cambodia, and the Vietnam War.

THE DRESS, 2021

THE DRESS: is a projection prop created for a performance piece at the Art Institute in 1984. It was installed in March 2021, suspended in front of a building on the Bowery as both a memorial to my grandmother, a Hungarian immigrant and master seamstress, and to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, of 1911, which occurred a few blocks north of this site.

-EJay Sims

A two-part study of the self-sustaining lifestyle of a communal farm in Vermont. 

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.

I Stare at You and Dream is a slice of life melodrama that journeys to the core of interrelationships. This film juxtaposes and links the lives of four people: the filmmaker, Susan Mogul; her friend, Rosie Sanchez; Rosie’s teenage daughter, Alejandra (Alex) Sanchez; and Ray Aguilar; Susan’s-on-and-off boyfriend. Tender and unflinching, each character gradually reveals their desires, wounds, and romantic entanglements in the context of their everyday lives.

"Bricks are the resonating fundamentals of society. Bricks are layers of clay that sound like records, just simply too thick. Like records they appear in series, but every brick is slightly different – not just another brick in the wall. Bricks create spaces, organize social relations and store knowledge on social structures. They resonate in a way that tells us if they are good enough or not. Bricks form the fundamental sound of our societies, but we haven't learned to listen to them.

"When we show you pictures of napalm victims, you'll shut your eyes. You'll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you'll close them to the memory. And then you'll close your eyes to the facts." These words are spoken at the beginning of this agitprop film that can be viewed as a unique and remarkable development. Farocki refrains from making any sort of emotional appeal. His point of departure is the following: "When napalm is burning, it is too late to extinguish it. You have to fight napalm where it is produced: in the factories."

In the summer of 1996 we filmed application training courses in which one learns how to apply for a job. School drop outs, university graduates, people who have to be retrained, the long-term unemployed, recovered drug addicts and mid-term managers – all of them are supposed to learn how to how to market and sell themselves, a skill to which the term “self-management” is applied. The self is perhaps nothing but a metaphysical hook from which to hang a social identity.

In the late 1960s Kim Jong Il guaranteed his succession as the Dear Leader of North Korea by adapting his father's Juche (pronounced choo-CHAY) philosophy to propaganda, film and art. Translated as self-reliance, Juche is a hybrid of Confucian and authoritarian Stalinist Pseudo-socialism. The film is about a South Korean video artist who comes to a North Korean art residency to help bring Juche cinema into the 21st Century.

Eerily drifting through soft fades, superimposed images, close-ups, and visual feedback, this tape follows less a narrative structure and more a stringing together of seemingly random activities, set against two very different soundtracks. The video opens with David Cort reclining on the ground as psychedelic rock plays in the background. Two shots alternate between frontal and profile as he lazily plays with his beard and face – the streams of footage melding together with the use of live editing.

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.

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.

Kipnis describes this tape as "an appropriation of the aesthetics of both late capitalism and early Soviet cinema—MTV meets Eisenstein—reconstructing Karl Marx for the video age.” She presents a postmodern lecture delivered by a chorus of drag queens on the unexpected corelations between Marx’s theories and the carbuncles that plagued the body of the rotund thinker for over thirty years. Marx’s erupting, diseased body is juxtaposed with the “body politic", and posited as a symbol of contemporary society proceeding the failed revolutions of the late 1960s.

The everyday performance of domestic labor is teleported into a surreal game world where an emotionally responsive AI chatbot provides no answers.

In this world, motion capture technology translates movement into data that can be unbound from the human body. Yvonne’s No Manifesto becomes a framework for understanding the existential impact of this new dataset. What happens to movement when it is divorced from affect and feeling? What happens to dance without the basic premise of embodiment and breath?

Hirsch’s most ambitious film to date and the pinnacle of his trilogy, Nothing New depicts the epic rescue mission of a man whose parachute is caught on electricity power lines. Involving hundreds of participants in a desolate field facing the Jordanian border in the Jordan Valley of Israel, this communal cinematic endeavor aims to re-unite, if only for a brief moment, the collective spirit of the socialist Kibbutz movement in Israel, a movement that has undergone significant ideological modifications.