Surveillance

An exploration of cruising glory holes, feminism, and general queer frustration.

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.

ocularis, 1997

This video highlights several narratives concerning video surveillance—not to reiterate the conventional privacy argument but rather to engage the desire to watch surveillance materials and society’s insatiable voyeurism. A variety of subjects recount their interactions with surveillance—getting caught in the act of stealing or watching pornography, being discouraged from making an illegal ATM withdrawal—and question technological determinism, asking whether we choose to develop technology or technology shapes our choices.

Take a joyride through comfortable suburbia—a landscape molded by seductive television and corporate America (and keep in mind: disaster is another logo for your consumption...). This is the age of the "culture jammed" consumer preened with Friends hair, Survivor courage, and CNN awareness. A generation emptying their wallets for the most important corporate product of all: lifestyle. The psychological road trip across a slightly battered America travels at One Mile per Minute.

Paul Schrader’s Bag is an inventory of fame. Playing the anonymous Every Man in a brush with celebrity, Simon presents a Hollywood peerage as our cultural patrimony.

This title is also available on Jason Simon: Three Videos.

Peek-A-Boo, I see you - A hell of a lot more of you through a keyhole!!

The crowded streets of New York City turn into fictive, cinematographic scenery. Provost is playing with our collective memory, its cinematic codes and narrative languages - questioning the boundaries between a staged, suggested reality and authentic fiction. Although filmed with a hidden camera, Plot Point presents a highly dramatic construction with overly sophisticated images and a subtle but tangible urge in the soundtrack.

Most of the moving images produced for science, industry, commerce, and medicine are seen only by specialized audiences, and are then discarded soon after they are made. Rumour Of True Things is constructed entirely from such moving image ephemera, including computer games, weapons testing, production lines, monitoring, and marriage agency tapes. Rumour Of True Things is a remarkable anthropological portrait of a technologically-based society obsessed with imaging itself.

A world with no escape... from the surveying cameras, an eye, a presence, always there to control our minds and movements. Looking even for the most secure little movements of life. 

This title is also available on Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas.

STATE, 2019

STATE is a single-channel video projection that the artist has spent the past five years researching and producing, working with a videographer and helicopter pilot to film aerial views of the 35 adult state prisons of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

Soundtrack / Drumming: Sterling Ruby

Filmography: Michael Boidy

Editors: Sterling Ruby and Sadie Strangio

Audio Engineer: George Hicks

Production: Reid Ulrich

On May 11 2004, Steve Kurtz phoned 911 to report Hope, his wife of 20 years, was unresponsive. When paramedics came to his house, one of them noticed that Kurtz had laboratory equipment, which he used in his art exhibits. The paramedics reported this to police and the FBI sealed off his house.

Authorities later said that Kurtz's wife had died of "heart failure," but he wasn't allowed to return to his home for two days while the FBI confiscated his equipment, and biological samples. They also carted off his books, personal papers and computer.

suicide, 2003

suicide is 70 packed minutes of a fictional filmmaker's crazed ruminations on travel, family history, death and sex as she traverses a world of malls, airports and train stations, chronicling her fiercely hopeful search for a reason to continue living.

A documentary video about the B.I.T. Suicide Box — a motion-triggered camera developed by the Bureau of Inverse Technology (a private information agency), and installed within range of the Golden Gate Bridge to capture a video record of anything that falls from the bridge, and provide an accurate measure of the suicide rate. The piece points to confusing roles for technology within contemporary culture.

— Whitney Biennial (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1996)

Spanish subtitled version also available.

“This work by John Smith looks down onto a busy Viennese intersection and a corner bakery. Constructed from hundreds of still images, it presents situations in a stilted motion, often with sinister undertones. Through this technique we're made aware of our intrinsic capacity for creating continuity, and fragments of narrative, from potentially (no doubt actually) unconnected events.”

--Mark Webber, London Film Festival (2003)