Politics

Book Report explores themes of sexual assault, the weaponization of language, and the futility of escape. It combines short sequences of Mad Men's Don Draper with relevant facts about the 2016 presidential campaign — including a history of the hashtag #trumpbookreport and notes on a payment to the mysteriously named “Draper Sterling” ad agency. A choral voice-over, drawn from the infamous Access Hollywood transcript, revises the misogynist “locker room talk,” turning it against the original speaker.

®™ark is an organization dedicated to bringing anti-corporate subversion and sabotage into the public marketplace. This updated video compilation includes a glitzy promotion for the ®™ark system (Bringing It All to You!); a behind-the-scenes look at some ®™ark propaganda efforts; an ®™ark PowerPoint presentation concerning "the Y2K bug”; a Danish television report about ®™ark and Hitler; a Boston news report about ®™ark; and, finally, the grand prize winner of ®™ark 1998 Corporate Poetry Contest, reading his winning entry.

"This film is closely related to my last feature-length project, Counting. I take the temperature of a neighborhood. In this case, the place is my New York. I think about street life and its threatened demise – a death ushered in as Big Money relentlessly re-makes cities in ever more categorical ways. I think with the camera, on the move, in fragments.

Spanning two years of protest and resistance, this video chronicles the politically-motivated police harassment of the homeless population in Manhattan’s Lower East Side; including suspected arson, illegal eviction, and the demolition of buildings that forced families onto the street. Taking its title from a quote by Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary is an indictment of government systems that violate the law willfully and at random in the service of wealthy real estate developers.

Starting with student-recorded VHS footage of two successive Take Back the Night marches at Princeton University, Birnbaum develops a saga of political awareness through personalized experiences. This localized student activity then progresses to, and is contrasted with, the 1988 National Student Convention at Rutgers University. Through this dynamic portrait, Birnbaum posits a series of compelling questions: How can the voice of the individual make itself seen and heard in our technocratic society? What forms of demonstration support this expression? How is a voice of dissent made possible?

The Videofreex had several experiences with the Black Panther Party, including interviewing Illinois Chapter Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton and New Haven Minister of Information Cappy Pinderhughes. In this tape, recorded on March 5th 1971, the Videofreex one-person camera crew Bart Friedman is walking the hallways of CBS, trying to find out where a video statement by Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver is located. The shots are mostly close up on people’s torsos and there is some image loss, but the sound is intact. The tape has an eerie espionage feel.

Shot in October 1969, this tape gives an inside view of the workings of late-sixties radical groups and the debates going on within their ranks. At a meeting of Yippies, there is a discussion about the nuts and bolts of fundraising through benefit concerts and events in an attempt to finance support efforts related to the Chicago 8 Conspiracy Trial.

An interview with a group of people shot in October 1969, some of whom were involved in The Weathermen’s "Days of Rage" actions. As those present recount the significance of the actions, and the possible ramifications on the movement as a whole, some critics voice serious complaints.

"Weeks before the 2006 midterm elections in the U.S., Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez came to the United Nations and blew everyone's minds with his "smells of sulfur" speech about Bush. It was an emperor wears no clothes moment with perfect comic timing. Bush was officially a lame duck after that speech. No matter what nutty things Chávez ever did, our nation's children will always be grateful." 

– Jim Finn

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.

"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.

This video takes its departure from the BBC's coverage of the killing of three IRA volunteers by British Security Forces in Strabane, a small town on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Interrogating television discourse, the video examines what is referred to as the British “shoot to kill” policy of planned assassination in the North.

This video takes its departure from the BBC's coverage of the killing of three IRA volunteers by British Security Forces in Strabane, a small town on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Interrogating television discourse, the video examines what is referred to as the British “shoot to kill” policy of planned assassination in the North.

Deathrow Notebooks is structured around an interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political prisoner who is on death row in Pennsylvania. Former president of the Association of Black Journalists, Abu-Jamal is a writer and creator of widely-broadcast radio programs who continues to write from prison. He was accused of killing a police officer, and in 1982 was convicted in a trial that contained many irregularities. To date, all of his appeals have failed.

Deathrow Notebooks is structured around an interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political prisoner who is on death row in Pennsylvania. Former president of the Association of Black Journalists, Abu-Jamal is a writer and creator of widely-broadcast radio programs who continues to write from prison. He was accused of killing a police officer, and in 1982 was convicted in a trial that contained many irregularities. To date, all of his appeals have failed.

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.

Turner Prize winning conceptual artist Jeremy Deller works across many different mediums, creating highly political and frequently collaborative works. Defying conventionality, Deller often exhibits outside of traditional gallery spaces, such as his 1993 twist on artist open studios, Open Bedroom, a secret exhibition in Deller’s family home while his parents were on holiday.

In the midst of the 2011 revolution in Cairo, a few beduins listen to their car's radio near Jericho, a place which looks like the end of the world. Within moments this desolated landscape transfers into a busy tourist attraction as a bus full of Polish Pilgrims enter the landscape.

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

River ice sets the scene for Judy Garland's international justice cri de coeur. It's hard to understate the amount of anxiety created by a vice president who usurped authority for eight years to start wars and wreck the economy and then sidled off to Wyoming to be a retired Hero of the Right. Impunity is not just the stuff of autocratic dictatorships in the third world. The American form of impunity is going to get us all killed.

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.

The first of the series includes:

What Does Away Mean? by Jem Cohen advertises the need to recycle through reconsideration of landfills and garbage disposal.

Pro-Choice is Pro-Life by Jane Pratt makes its point with the simple logic that every child should be cared for and wanted.

Historic Preservation by Jim McKay counsels for the preservation of historic buildings endangered by urban decay.

This video collects public service announcements created by a number of independent producers, including Jem Cohen and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.  Powerful and provocative, these PSAs address issues such as organic farming, abortion rights, street harassment, and the environment. Included are:

They Have Dreams by Natalie Merchant and Abigail Simon which focuses on the plight of homeless children.

The third compilation in this series of progressive, creative public service announcements for under-reported issues. Featuring various styles and formats, from street photography to optical printing, from edgy black and white film to hand-drawn animation, the seven spots in this latest installment are:

The Breathing Tree by Eric Darnell and Doug Loveid, an animated easy-to-understand explanation of how forests contribute to life by producing oxygen.

The Disappointment: Or, The Force of Credulity is a documentary about the search for four lost treasures buried on a single farm in Missouri. These treasures include a Spanish explorer's gold, silver from the Civil War, mysterious stone carvings, lost texts, and a wife's attempt to heal her husband and protect herself and her children. Part personal documentary and part historical essay, The Disappointment traces the patterns of cultural forgetting etched in the landscape of the Austin Farm.

Rosa Barba’s work Disseminate and Hold investigates man-made geographies and landscapes, and how these are often deeply enmeshed with political agendas and utopian visions.