Photography

An Image, 1983

"Four days spent in a studio working on a centerfold photo for Playboy magazine provided the subject matter for my film. The magazine itself deals with culture, cars, a certain lifestyle. Maybe all those trappings are only there to cover up the naked woman. Maybe it's like with a paper-doll. The naked woman in the middle is a sun around which a system revolves: of culture, of business, of living!

The vanishing point of Images of The World is the conceptual image of the 'blind spot' of the evaluators of aerial footage of the IG Farben industrial plant taken by the Americans in 1944. Commentaries and notes on the photographs show that it was only decades later that the CIA noticed what the Allies hadn't wanted to see: that the Auschwitz concentration camp is depicted next to the industrial bombing target.

A grinding mortar and pestle vignette analogously describes the evolution of digital resolution; from a single color to a high definition image to an infinite splitting of that image back into the pixels themselves.

This title is only available on Suitable Video, Volume 1.

"how looking at what has become the skeletons of photographs is a visual lecture on aesthetic pleasure or emotion. and how being, almost entirely denied of this pleasure, or having the pleasure merely suggested induces a viewer to ruminate on the act of viewing and that of wanting to view. and maybe it is evolution which causes this anxiety and art form."

Alfredo Jaar is a politically motivated artist whose work includes installation, photography and film.  Born in Chile and now living in the U.S., Jaar’s socio-critical installations explore global political issues, frequently focusing on the Third World and the relationship between consumption and power.  A 1988 installation in a subway station in New York involved dramatic photographs of impoverished gold miners n Brazil interspersed with quotations of current gold prices, drawing an unexpected parallel between the material desires that motivate people in both poverty-stricken Brazil and a

"This film is at once a self-portrait and an homage to Jean-Marie Straub, Farocki's role model and former teacher. Farocki's admiration for Straub was so great that he said of Between Two Wars, Perhaps I only made this film to earn Straub's recognition."  In this observation-driven film, Farocki documents the fulfillment of his wish. The film shows Farocki, under Straub's direction, rehearsing for his role as Delamarche in the film Klassenverhältnisse (1983). Anyone who has seen Farocki's documentary of the shoot will never forget these short scenes.

Estelle Jussim (1928-2004) was regarded as one of the most influential voices in photography and media. An art historian and a communications theorist, Jussim wrote extensively about photographers, movements, and institutions, incorporating postmodern, deconstructionist, and feminist viewpoints in her many writings without being hemmed in by any one critical ideology.  Jussim was the award-winning author of Slave to Beauty and the pioneering Visual Communication and the Graphic Arts, which charted new ground in the investigation of the meaning of images. 

Locke’s Way is the photographic path to knowledge, full of twists and turns, treacherously steep. What has happened down here? A family’s photographs tell us everything and nothing about the subterranean past. "One of the central questions of philosophy has always been: what can be known? Locke’s Way provides a vivid illustration of this perennial philosophical dilemma. In this short video, Donigan Cumming is preoccupied with the story of his older brother, who seems to have been brain-damaged and spent much of his life in institutions.

Sharon Lockhart is a photographer and filmmaker. Her photographic and filmic works interrogate the inversion of the static image as cinematic and the manipulation of the moving image into a static/stop-motion frame. Her work also contemplates how we perceive our own real-time realities.

Nathan Lyons (b.1930) has contributed to the field of photography as a critic, author, curator, educator, and photographer. He has published several books and catalogs, including Photographers on Photography (1966), Photography in the 20th Century (1967), Towards a Social Landscape (1967), Persistence of Vision (1968), and Notations in Passing (1974).  His body of work consists primarily of photographs which focus on American culture.

This 12-minute video by Tom Palazzolo and Chicago writer Jack Helbig tells the story of the recently discovered Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier. Though she was unknown in her lifetime, her extensive body of work is rewriting the history of post-World War II American street photography. The video, told from the point of view of Maier herself, recounts her life and work, from her childhood in France to her move to NYC in 1951 and subsequent relocation to Chicago, where the majority of her work was done.

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.

West coast artists, Mike Mandel (b.1950) and Larry Sultan (1946-2009) became artistic collaborators in 1972 while both enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute’s MFA program. This interview captures the duo’s camaraderie (look closely, they are wearing matching shirts!) and youthful optimism as they describe the impetus behind their California billboard installations of the early seventies.

Chance observations of New York's Chinatown, commissioned by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas. 

"A sleepwalker's circumnavigation of one of the less homogenized parts of the city."

--Jem Cohen

Nocturne, 2002

Nocturne is a 5-minute film shot entirely at night in deserted streets of London. The film attempts to find images of the city that reveal the presence of the past, or the presence of the dead, hinting at a concealed history. The deserted streets around the east end of London and Docklands reflect an echoic city filled with shadows. Nocturne is composed of long static viewpoints, each shot slowly unfolding in time as though by looking long enough the city's secrets will be revealed.

In okay bye-bye, so named for what Cambodian children shouted to the U.S. ambassador in 1975 as he took the last helicopter out of Phnom Phenh in advance of the Khmer Rouge, Rebecca Baron explores the relationship of history to memory.

Taking the idea of loss and dispossession as a starting point, this second reflection on photography and its people looks at the individual’s position within the context of war and how photographs become the sole record of that displacement, at the risk of them being dispersed as well.

On Photography People and Modern Times is the outcome of three years of research on photography conducted by the artist in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt during the founding years of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF).

Craig Owens (1950-1990) was a critic who wrote and lectured extensively on contemporary art. He showed particular interest in the issues of photography, postmodernism, feminism, and Marxist thought. A former associate editor for October and senior editor for Art in America, as well as professor of art history at Yale University and Barnard College, his writings were collected in Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture (1994). Owens died of an AIDS-related illness in 1990.

Partially Buried Continued is a meditation on ways in which one’s associations to history, location, and genealogy become tangled in a subjective web which makes it complicated to separate history from fiction.

Petrolia, 2005

Petrolia takes its name from a redundant oil-drilling platform set in the Cromarty Firth, Scotland. The film looks at the architecture of the oil industry along the Scottish coastline where oil and gas supplies are predicted to run dry in the next forty years.

As I rummage through a stack of photos the memories of this and that plus who’s what and where rush in helter skelter. There’s a lot to swallow on screen and off (most of it from Oriental kitchens) but there are dashes of the even more exotic as the viewer glimpses renderings of the indigestible here and there (but mostly above and beyond!).

Ingrid Pollard is a photographer living in London. Her photographic works, generally of people and landscape, serve to provide a human context for issues of transmigration and “fleeting” identity. Combining personal photographs with traditional views of the English countryside, Pollard questions as well as reconstructs the concept of “Britishness.” In doing so, Pollard also scrutinizes the location of the “other,” and contrasts actual physical similarity or material likeness of people and places with perceived or socially constructed difference.

Richard Prince appropriates images from commercial advertising and travelogues for his photographs. Choosing these images for their melodramatic, super-real power, he then isolates their stylistic realism to accentuate its rhetoric. In this portrait/performance, Prince narrates experiences that demonstrate his extreme sensitivity to appearances and context. He relates the event of buying his first car as the imprinting of a certain aesthetic impression.

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