Race

In the words of activist Dhoruba Bin Wahad, “Historical and social events are subject to almost instant censorship by those who have better access and control over the medium of communication. It is important that there exist people skilled in the use of the technological instruments of communication who will seek out the real truth behind the headlines and tell it for all to see, know, and hear.”

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.

Using footage from the legendary Bruce Lee’s last, unfinished, film, Fulbeck turns the subtitled martial arts movie on itself—levelling criticism and commentary with the genre's own tools, and examining the various representative functions of the late actor.

In The Great Mojado Invasion (The Second US - Mexico War), writer/performer Guillermo Gómez-Peña and filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez combine Chicano wit and political vision to create an ironic, post-millennial and postmodern look at the future of U.S./Mexican relations. Both artist and director generate a complex commentary on history, society, pop culture, the politics of language and the repercussions of ethnic dominance.

A formidable collage of striking images, this powerful and provocative work confronts racial violence through images of ecological mayhem, machismo, pornography, and Third World poverty — images which return to the taboo body of a black man. "Directed and produced by our culture," An I for An I studies how violence is internalized and psychologized by overlapping soundtracks, printed texts, recurrent images, doctored footage and split screens. The piece attacks racist culture and pleads for an alternative recourse to violence.

In The Blood is an experimental documentary about American-Jewish attitudes towards Germans, and the role the Holocaust plays in shaping Jewish identity. This layered collage combines appropriated images, original footage, sampled sounds, and fragments of audio conversations, to examine perceptions and representations of Germany, cultural identity, collective memory, and history.

Featuring Ken and Louise from Wendy Clarke's One on One video series, this video exchange encompasses a shared passion for music and pure emotional vulnerability that creates an incredibly intimate relationship between these two strangers throughout the project's evolution. Their connection is palpable, leaving the viewer envisioning a possible real life encounter between the two outside of the realm of this project.

Kindah, 2016

The Diaspora Suite

Sections 1-30 of an incomplete extended poem describing the artist's connection to the radical black tradition. The completed poem will be formed of 180 sections.

"Lessons are all about constraints; they are thirty seconds, must feature a black figure, and I have rules about where to make cuts, how to edit sound, etc."
— Martine Syms in conversation with Aram Moshayedi, Mousse Magazine

Sections 31-60 of an incomplete extended poem describing the artist's connection to the radical black tradition. The completed poem will be formed of 180 sections.

"Lessons are all about constraints; they are thirty seconds, must feature a black figure, and I have rules about where to make cuts, how to edit sound, etc."
— Martine Syms in conversation with Aram Moshayedi, Mousse Magazine

The Diaspora Suite

Filmed on location in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, NY ( an international stronghold of the African Diaspora), Many Thousands Gone draws parallels between a summer afternoon on the streets of the two cities. A silent version of the film was given to jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee to use an interpretive score. The final film is the combination of the images and McPhee’s real time “sight reading” of the score.

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.

In the case of Carlos Motta’s career, the impetus has always been on, not adhering to particular medium or a particular style, but rather using media as it becomes appropriate tell a story that has heretofore been stifled by dominant power structures. The technical variability of his work is only matched by its potential to generate conversation and discourse in the arenas of sexuality, gender, democracy and colonialism – usually as a conflux of all four through historical excavation.

My Only Idol is Reality is a video work created from an excerpt of Season One of MTV’s The Real World. The piece uses repetition as a framework for abstraction   re-recording the video between tape

This is a video of musical terror where I superficially — this is the beginning of a larger project —l look at one of the Mexican phenomena that horrifies me the most: internalized racism, being ashamed of one's own roots. The fantasy of waking up white.

— Ximena Cuevas

Skip Blumberg of the Videofreex conducts an interview with Charles “Cappy” Pinderhughes, the Lieutenant of Information of the New Haven branch of the Black Panther Party. From the steps of the New Haven headquarters, Cappy publicizes the upcoming Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention set to take place in Washington, D.C. later that week (June 19th, 1970). In addition, Cappy provides a statement to be shared via the Videofreex at the Alternative Media Conference occurring at Godard College in Vermont.

Inspired by a riff on a popular joke “Everybody wanna be a black woman but nobody wanna be a black woman,” Notes On Gesture is a video comparing authentic and dramatic gestures. The piece uses the 17th Century text Chirologia: Or the Natural Language of the Hand as a guide to create an inventory of gestures for performance. The piece alternates between title cards proposing hypothetical situations and short, looping clips that respond. The actor uses her body to quote famous, infamous, and unknown women.

In 1985 the great soprano Leontyne Price sang the title role in Verdi’s Aida as her farewell opera. After the ‘O patria mia’ aria, the audience breaks into a four-minute applause. Oh My Homeland is the third in a series of minimal single shot 16mm films. It’s a film about representation, art, and material exchange. It’s a film about endings. It’s a film about identity, love, power, patriotism and the transcendent potential of art through the viewing of a face receiving adoration.

A childhood experience is projected on a shadowy wall of a former movie theatre. A racist cinematic trauma passed between friends and family is remembered among the rustling of leaves and reflections of trees on an iPad screen. An essay about how past and present interrupt one another like movies being perpetually edited.

operculum, 1993

The artist visits with seven cosmetic surgeons specializing in blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid creasing surgery) in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area for initial consultation sessions. The doctors demonstrate different reshaping options and comment upon the prevalence and success rates for different Asian nationalities while Tran presents statistics and facts in text that frame the consultations.

This title is also available on Tran, T. Kim-Trang: The Blindness Series.

In response to the dominant impression that gay people are white people, Orientations aims to set the record straight on homosexual identity. More than a dozen men and women of different Asian backgrounds speak frankly, humorously, and often poignantly about their lives as members of a minority within a minority. They speak about coming out, homophobia, racism, cultural identity, sex, and the ways that being gay and Asian have shaped who they are.

 

Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing aftermath destroyed Noel's community and home. He is rebuilding, and as he rebuilds, he evokes the past through the enlistment of his personal archives. His memories are complicated by the tragic events that occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4th 2005. As Noel reflects back on what has been lost, the story that he tells about his neighborhood is affected by the story of innocent people gunned down while attempting to cross a bridge in search of safety, and for Noel their plight clarify many things.

A call and response to impermanence.

“A documentary about the Arkestra, but it's one whose presentation reflects the multilevel approach Sun Ra had to music and life in general. Jump cuts and split screens dot the visual stream with home movie footage from the Arkestra in Egypt during the 1970s to the Arkestra of today led by Marshall Allen. Director Ephraim Asili wisely divides the 40 minutes into distinct chapters, illustrating each with band interviews, live footage, visuals of planets and NASA launches, and his voice quoting writings from Ra.