Environment

Water and oil form the undercurrents of all narrations as they activate profound changes in the planetary ecology. After the oil peak, ever dirtier, remote and deeper layers of fossil resources are being accessed. Aerial recording of the devastated crust in Alberta opens the view into dark lubricant geologies. Climate change, exasperated by projects such as the Canadian tar sands, puts the life of large world populations in danger.

Draft 9, 2003

"This movie was collected for four years before being sprayed scattershot over 28 minutes of psychic mayhem. The line between living and dead is a frontier crossed and re-crossed here. The living are dead while the dead are animated, breathing, swimming, giving birth. Consumed by the animal life of the city, the artist undertakes a first person journey, producing diary notes from one of the most skilled lens masters of the new generation. The camera is her company in this duet of death, the instrument that permits her to see the impossible, the unbearable, the invisible."

A domestic portrait rendered at miniature scale, Dust Studies brushes along the edge of what can be seen. Staying close to the ground to collect what gathers there, the film looks deeply for everyday things and finds them drifting in the pleasant, meandering headwaters of a young child's language.

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.

The Earth Is Young takes as its starting point a series of interviews conducted with Young Earth Creationists, who find evidence of a six-day, six-thousand-year old creation in their reading of the fossil and geological record. The film frames these encounters with depictions of the slow and patient work of young paleontologists, and the strange, shimmering life in a drop of pond water, both of which point toward a world far older and more complex, if no less fantastic.

A short documentary about life in the Everglades National Park with its few male residents. Living in the midst of a national park, they learn to exist with the wild. As a female moving image artist, Dana Levy takes on the role of an anthropologist, observing the men and how they interact with their surroundings. Apart from Levy, the only women that appear in Eden Without Eve are in erotic photographs taken by a resident named Lucky, who believes that women like having themselves put in romantic, exotic, and dangerous settings to be photographed.

 

"Living on the slopes of the volcano Vesuvius is a strange contradiction: always in stress and yet also sleepy, waiting for what might happen. In close cooperation with the Osservatorio Vesuviano and several inhabitants of the 'Red Zone' of the volcano, Rosa Barba constructs a lyrical portrait of this area, which shelters Mafia members and illegal Chinese immigrants. Historic footage, measurements, maps, and aerial shots try to capture what is always uncertain."

The frenzied detritus of trading floors, smart weaponry and the religious right are woven through the petrochemical landscapes of Southeast Texas. This short video harangue questions land use policy as it serves the oil industry, patriotism as it absolves foreign aggression, and fundamentalism as it calcifies thinking.

Everglades is a project Levy began while a resident artist in Florida's Everglades National Park. The unique natural environment of the Everglades has been devastated by decades of wetlands drainage for purposes of industrial and residential development, and today it is threatened by fracking and deep water drilling. At the same time, efforts have been made to restore some of the original ecosystems through a process of re-flooding, not unlike the restoration of Lake Hula in the north of Israel.

Fifeville, 2005

Fifeville is a film about a neighborhood in Charlottesville, Virginia. It focuses on the details, gestures, and material life of the citizens of Fifeville as they communicate their understandings of the neighborhood’s changing landscape. Although Fifeville is set in Charlottesville, it could be Any Black Community Experiencing Gentrification, USA, 21st Century.

Co-director: Corey D.B. Walker. Crew: bh103a.

This video captures the playfulness of the Videofreex as they frolic in the first snow of 1971. With joyful excitement, David, Bart, Chuck, Nancy and Skip pass the camera back and forth to explore the possibilities for video under the new weather condition offered by flurries. While Nancy tapes, David and Bart create fictional characters stranded after a plane crash. Annie, Francis and the resident dog, Mushroom, join the group for further snowy shenanigans. Later, Bart tries to interview the local snowplow driver for an episode of Lanesville TV, but without success.

The foliage and sprouting of urban greenery becomes the subject of this celebration to all things pollinated. The video explores hidden gardens that lie sequestered amid an array of dwellings inhabited by the not so rich and famous. Felines creep amid the blossoms as human entities enrich the soil with their leaking desires.

Forest Law underlines the persistent fact that we are yet to learn to live otherwise in an age defined by the colossal consequences of a new socio-geological order we ourselves have created through irresponsible interactions with Earth’s systems.

A two-part study of the self-sustaining lifestyle of a communal farm in Vermont. 

Over 6,000 gold prospectors invade the reserve of the Nambiquara of Sararé, and loggers raid the mahogany-rich forests, which are threatened by extinction. Pressure on the World Bank (with whom the government of Mato Grosso is negotiating a loan) could end prospecting, but the pillage of the forest continues.

In Portuguese with English subtitles.

Directed by Vincent Carelli, Maurizio Longobardi, and Virginia Valadão; edited by Tutu Nunes.

Shu Lea Cheang's witty narrative Fresh Kill envisions a post-apocalyptic landscape strewn with electronic detritus and suffering the toxic repercussions of mass marketing in a high-tech commodity culture.

Future From Inside is the last in the trilogy begun in 2016, by Dani and Sheilah ReStack (also including Strangely Ordinary this Devotion and Come Coyote.) The work traces the ReStack collaboration, as it manifests in life and in work.

A Yosemite gargoyle climbs two gothic arches.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

Going Around In Circles continues Holt's interest in perception and point of view. A board with five circular holes is placed in front of the camera. The holes are covered and uncovered to reveal five people enacting a set of activities that involves walking between five spots and turning in circles.

Among the leading pioneers of the eco-art movement, the collaborative team of Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison (often referred to simply as “the Harrisons”) have worked for almost forty years with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development.

Newton Harrison, born 1932, is one of the earliest and best known social practice and environmental artists. He and Helen Mayer Harrison collaborated under the name Harrison Studio for most of their lives, working in a variety of mediums in collaboration with scientists, political activists, and many others to start dialogues about community development and engagement. In conversation with Claire Pentecost, a writer and professor of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harrison discusses his expansive career, and offers advice for younger artists working today.

Shot in Portland International Airport. Animation by Jalal Jemison.

"In Haysha Royko, three people sit nonchalantly in airport chairs, while their different-colored auras, or something much like auras, shape shift, overlap, and compete."

— Emily Hall, The Stranger, July 17th, 2003 

HÖCH, 2014

Set in East Berlin in 1977, this short experimental documentary interviews the Dadaist artist Hannah Höch as she reflects upon her experiences living and working during in 1920s Berlin. Höch compares the sociopolitical landscape of Berlin in the 1970s to its romanticised past of the Wiemar Era, while questioning the usefulness of nostalgia as an emotive tool.

Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a mircrocosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity.

"... Basma Alsharif’s Home Movies Gaza, a film that captures the impossibly politicized domestic sphere of the Gaza Strip, under the constant hum and buzz of overhead drones."

HotSpell, 2011

This final weather diary travels through some rough inner and outer domains.  Social interactions blend more smoothly than the clash of air masses which threaten to clobber a prairie town in a vortex of violence.

Flashbacks and flashpoints flare-up along with thunderheads that loom and boom with vibrations of doom, their every move charted with vivid vibrancy on videographic maps which detail developing devastation.

Desire and death are in the air along with some aromatic wisps of ethnic edibles, so be sure to sniff it all.

 

This work is almost a parable, where a man is imprisoned under his baby’s bed. He tries all means to survive and to find a mechanical solution that would lead him to freedom.

This title is only available on Radical Closure.