Portrait

Lay Bare, 2012

"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances" wrote Oscar Wilde. Lay Bare is a composite portrait of the human body, revealing it as it is only rarely seen in the most intimate relationships we have with our family or our lovers -- erotic and comic, beautiful and vulnerable.

Music, sound design and mixed by Andy Cowton

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.

 

A collaboration with writer Luc Sante made in Tangier, Morocco, a city where neither of us had ever been. En route from the airport to the city center, we found ourselves amazed by the landscape outside of the car windows; a massive construction project under way in all directions. While not in itself unusual, we were by struck dumb by the epic scale and seemingly incomprehensible plan of the development and were drawn to return together to this puzzling zone.

-- Jem Cohen

A selection of Love Tapes — a collection of video recordings of 2,500 people from diverse backgrounds who share their personal feelings about love. Love, as described throughout the tapes, is not defined by any one singular meaning, but is instead contextualized by the variety of personal perspectives and experiences within this collection. Such interpretations of love explore lust, friendship, first love, and familial love. This selection consists of 32 edited tapes from 1978-2011. The Love Tapes project began in 1977 and is ongoing.

An independent film portrait of singer/songwriter Elliott Smith in Portland, Oregon in 1996, wherein he plays three songs. The songs were done live acoustic--in his old studio, a living room, and a bathroom (it was quiet in there). It's also a small portrait of Portland, Oregon.

The songs are "Between the Bars", "Angeles", and a cover of "Thirteen" by Big Star.

This is Elliott as I remember him, at his simple finest as musician. 

LYNDALE, 2018

LYNDALE is a story of shifting family dynamics, told through the relationship of two brothers. Shot on ten different video formats, this experimental documentary is both the story of a Chicago family, and a record of the digital revolution in the early 2000s. The piece takes place over a six-year period during which filmmakers Oli Rodriguez and Victoria Stob shared a house with Rodriguez’s brother, Jeff.

LYNDALE, 2018

LYNDALE is a story of shifting family dynamics, told through the relationship of two brothers. Shot on ten different video formats, this experimental documentary is both the story of a Chicago family, and a record of the digital revolution in the early 2000s. The piece takes place over a six-year period during which filmmakers Oli Rodriguez and Victoria Stob shared a house with Rodriguez’s brother, Jeff.

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.

Merce by Merce by Paik is a two-part tribute to choreographer Merce Cunningham and artist Marcel Duchamp. The first section, “Blue Studio: Five Segments,” is an innovative work of video-dance produced by Merce Cunningham and videomaker Charles Atlas. Cunningham choreographed the dance specifically for the two-dimensional video monitor screen. Atlas uses a variety of video imaging effects, including chromakey, to electronically transport Cunningham’s studio performance into a series of outdoor landscapes. The audio track includes the voices of John Cage and Jasper Johns.

Mohamed Yousry: A Life Stands Still (also known as Good Translator) is a short documentary about Mohamed Yousry, a naturalized American citizen who's life changed radically after September 11, 2001. Mohamed immigrated to the United States in 1980. For the next twenty years, he developed a full and happy life, as a husband, father, and academic. On September 13, 2001 Mohamed was approached by the FBI on his doorstep in Queens, NY. After appeal processes and an attempt to extradite him, Mohamed was sentenced to four years in a federal penitentiary in Fort Worth, TX.

Mohamed Yousry: A Life Stands Still (also known as Good Translator) is a short documentary about Mohamed Yousry, a naturalized American citizen who's life changed radically after September 11, 2001. Mohamed immigrated to the United States in 1980. For the next twenty years, he developed a full and happy life, as a husband, father, and academic. On September 13, 2001 Mohamed was approached by the FBI on his doorstep in Queens, NY. After appeal processes and an attempt to extradite him, Mohamed was sentenced to four years in a federal penitentiary in Fort Worth, TX.

Monitor, 1999

Cyclops / "monitor" / minotaur.

Note: A 20-second video loop self-portrait.

In a fragrant garden warmed by the sun, a young man inhales the atoms of the world and exhales thoughts that probe the very essence of his existence. 

Embraced by a gentle breeze in that tranquil place kissed by the sun, he embarks on a journey inward to that spiritual and sensual state best described as the "cosmic consciousness", - the "quest" to "understand" and "accept".....to have "peace of mind".

A.L. Steiner’s video More Real Than Reality Itself expands the structures of documentary works while challenging its conventional reliance on linear narratives. This critique takes shape through Steiner’s reconsideration of the history of political activism and its representations — configuring a story that emphasizes the embodied, romantic aspects of activism rather than a singular, dominant history.

Three insightful and funny vignettes highlighting Segalove's father's quirky traits, habits, and interests.

Adapted, quite loosely, from interviews with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in the late 60s and early 70s.

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.

Nang has lived outside the box. Born in a Trinidadian village in 1934, she grew up poor, illegitimate, mixed-race and female, but she survived by defying convention. She left the first of five husbands when he cheated on her. With no formal training, she danced with choreographer Geoffrey Holder, who later won Tony Awards for The Wiz. In her twenties, she went to work in the Orinoco delta in Venezuela, and saved enough to buy a house.

Omewenne, 1995

Enter the classic world of a haunted creature destined for stardom in the astrological realm beyond our heads. Visit a haunted soul in her house of horrors and heavenly delights. Sip tea with a sorceress of song and sorrows, earthly eloquence and ephemeral effusions. Taste her ghoulish goulash and smack thy lips with a forked tongue, for Lucifer and Lilith reside within us all.

The Only Ones Left (three-channel video installation*), featuring actor Jim Fletcher, weaves film noir and mafia genre references with CEO diatribes, while also exposing the conventions of the feature film climax. The three channels of video depict all plot points of the Hollywood film climax concurrently. The channels are arranged chronologically from left to right. This simultaneity draws attention to the familiarity of the subject matter and the inevitability of the violent consequences awaiting the characters.

A commissioned portait of Pamplona, a small city in the North of Spain, shot and edited there in under 2 weeks. The film is a humble set of observations of place, people, atmospheres, and local rituals. (It is also a tribute to the art of film projection). As there is a large presence in the town of the conservative religious order, Opus Dei, which translates to 'Work of God,' I chose to name my film, Works of Light and Man.

-- Jem Cohen

Paint drips and body fluids ooze in this "tell all" and "hide nothing" documentary about two San Francisco males.

Ken Mate, a 56 year old solipsistic individual, recites Finnegan's Wake while doing sit-ups, talks about talking, and kvetches when a neighbor "steals" the first tomato from his hand-cultivated garden. Drawn from the inside out, this portrait describes who Ken is rather than describing what he does. Commissioned by and presented at the Second Annual Silver Lake Film Festival, 2001.

Platonic, 2013

In Dani Leventhal’s Platonic, geometric specters twirl in space; pet cats foam at the mouth; a little boy mistakes his junkie dad for a superhero; and a confused adolescent worries he has sired a centaur. Platonic references both the ancient philosopher’s metaphysics of ideal Forms, which simultaneously exist outside our perceptions and yet give rise to them, and the related meaning in common parlance of non-romantic love.

An up-close compilation of interviews and discussions with people living with HIV in the early 1990s. 

A series of vignettes, anemic in color, as the absence of light threatens the vibrancy of those depicted: a Bostonian painter and her bloated model. A brunette guitarist and her assault weapon on the ear drums, and a lady from London in makeup and mourning. A canvas of black dahlias and white noise intent on smothering life, limb and vocal chords.

POSTFACE, 2011

In a celebrity-obsessed culture, filmmakers often exploit the downfall of a star to amplify the emotional undertones of the fictional films in which they perform. POSTFACE takes a look back at the filmography of Montgomery Clift whose private life and career spiral downward after a 1956 car crash that left his face scarred and partially paralyzed.

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.