Experimental Film

"In the guise of chronicling the final moments of three polar explorers marooned on an ice floe a century ago, Baron's film investigates the limitations of images and other forms of record as a means of knowing the past and the paradoxical interplay of film time, historical time, real time and the fixed moment of the photograph. Marrying matter-of-fact voiceover and allusive sound fragments, evidence and illustration, in Baron’s words, "meaning is set adrift"."

--New York Film Festival, 1997, Views from the Avant-Garde program notes

IKARUS, 1974

Documentation of performance. Slow-motion dance move.

"A chamber drama set in the confines of an apartment’s sun room, this video further explores visual themes and obsessions found in my earlier works and adds in a few new ones for good measure. Earlier motifs seen here are lightbulbs in pendulum movement, tabletop antics with simple household objects, Christo-like fleshy textures, sketchbook pages torn from their binders, book pages, bookshelves, and flowers. I play a vaguely Walter Mitty-ish figure, who imagines himself as a conductor, as Orpheus, and as conflicted characters in a Greta Garbo movie.

"When we show you pictures of napalm victims, you'll shut your eyes. You'll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you'll close them to the memory. And then you'll close your eyes to the facts." These words are spoken at the beginning of this agitprop film that can be viewed as a unique and remarkable development. Farocki refrains from making any sort of emotional appeal. His point of departure is the following: "When napalm is burning, it is too late to extinguish it. You have to fight napalm where it is produced: in the factories."

Materials: 3378 hi-con, Laser engraver, Exacto knife

Shot at the Film Farm in Mt.Forest, this comedy is a quest about performance, educational voiceover, analogue filmmaking, ASCII, language, ethics of ethnography and narrative storytelling under a metaphor of instructions to farm land.

Text by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Wikihow/shoot-film.

Itzcóatl, 2014

The scales of the snake refract a trance and invocation. In the epicenter, the pyramids join Izcóatl's battle, the Obsidian Serpent propagates an exhortation: all the dances against the war.

This title is also available on the compilation What Was Always Yours and Never Lost.

"This film is at once a self-portrait and an homage to Jean-Marie Straub, Farocki's role model and former teacher. Farocki's admiration for Straub was so great that he said of Between Two Wars, Perhaps I only made this film to earn Straub's recognition."  In this observation-driven film, Farocki documents the fulfillment of his wish. The film shows Farocki, under Straub's direction, rehearsing for his role as Delamarche in the film Klassenverhältnisse (1983). Anyone who has seen Farocki's documentary of the shoot will never forget these short scenes.

In his New York City landscape, Cohen finds inspiration in disturbance. Looking to life for rhythm and to architecture for state of mind, he locates simple mysteries. Just Hold Still is comprised of an interconnected series of short works and collaborations that explore the gray area between documentary, narrative, and experimental genres.

Tom Kalin is a screenwriter, film director, producer, and educator. As a key figure in New Queer Cinema, his work focuses on the portrayal of gay sexuality both in the age of AIDS and historically. Informed by his work with two AIDS activist collectives, ACT UP and Gran Fury, Kalin’s video work is characterized by appropriated images, original portraits, and performances.

Kindah, 2016

The Diaspora Suite

Lead, 2009

Lead is a tale of an early 20th Century Robin Hood, based on a story by James Williams, involving jumping trains and throwing coal off for needy Southerners.

Cast: Chris Barkley, Hassen Mahamud, Kenny West, James Williams. Cinematography: Jonathan Taee. Sound: Ayesha Ninan.

This title is only available on Broad Daylight and Other Times: Selected Works of Kevin Jerome Everson.

Leafless, 2011

Leafless is a poem of textures about becoming familiar with a significant other’s body in reservation with its landscape.

“But the sun is also fierce; neither graceful athlete nor geometrician’s dummy will embody Apollo, the idol of light.” 

- Kenneth Clark, The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form (1956)

"We are happy. (Silence.) What do we do now, now that we are happy?"

-- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

The result of over five years of Super-8 and 16mm filming on New York City streets, Lost Book Found melds documentary and narrative into a complex meditation on city life. The piece revolves around a mysterious notebook filled with obsessive listings of places, objects, and incidents. These listings serve as the key to a hidden city: a city of unconsidered geographies and layered artifacts—the relics of low-level capitalism and the debris of countless forgotten narratives. The project stems from the filmmaker's first job in New York—working as a pushcart vendor on Canal Street.

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. 

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.

Mayhem, 1987

Through a catalogue of looks, movements, and gestures, Mayhem presents a social order run amok in a libidinous retracing of film noir conventions. Sexuality flows in an atmosphere of sexual tension, danger, violence, and glamour; antagonism between the sexes is symbolized in the costuming of women in polka dots and men in stripes. Censored in Tokyo for its use of Japanese lesbian erotica, this tape creates an image bank of what signifies the sexual and the seductive in the history of imagemaking, pointing to the way we learn about our bodies, and how to use them from images.

In 1985, Hassan Zbib and Olga Nakkas separately started to develop film scenarios based on simple narratives, and would shoot them on Super 8, which was still possible to develop in Beirut at the time. Their work featured the city as a stage where lonely characters drifted: a taxi driver in his car, a man walking around, talking to a Rambo poster.

In 1985, Hassan Zbib and Olga Nakkas separately started to develop film scenarios based on simple narratives, and would shoot them on Super 8, which was still possible to develop in Beirut at the time. Their work featured the city as a stage where lonely characters drifted: a taxi driver in his car, a man walking around, talking to a Rambo poster.

This compilation features 11 of Jem Cohen's collaborations with musicians. Made on 16mm, Super 8 and Video, the works include the music of R.E.M., Gil Shaham and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Void, Elliot Smith, Jonathan Richman, Miracle Legion and Olivier Messiaen.

Nightswimming

Chance observations of New York's Chinatown, commissioned by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas. 

"A sleepwalker's circumnavigation of one of the less homogenized parts of the city."

--Jem Cohen

Nocturne, 2002

Nocturne is a 5-minute film shot entirely at night in deserted streets of London. The film attempts to find images of the city that reveal the presence of the past, or the presence of the dead, hinting at a concealed history. The deserted streets around the east end of London and Docklands reflect an echoic city filled with shadows. Nocturne is composed of long static viewpoints, each shot slowly unfolding in time as though by looking long enough the city's secrets will be revealed.

This surreal, free-form autobiography is concerned with childhood and adult rituals, and the longing for meaning and connection during the often wildly absurd events of early life. Obsessive Becoming returns to Reeves’s early exploration of personal narrative forms, poetry, and his interest in creating a more spontaneous and direct fusion between language and video. Words and images of the expectations and disappointments of coming of age break down the boundaries of both mediums.

Old Cat, 2009

Old Cat will eventually and pleasantly get to a destination. Shot in the summer of 2009, in a single take, on a lake in Virginia.

Cast: Chad Bowles, Marcus Bowles.

This title is only available on Broad Daylight and Other Times: Selected Works of Kevin Jerome Everson.

Om, 1986

A film about haircuts, clothes, and image/sound relationships.

"This four-minute film explores our response to stereotypes—aural, visual and ideological. Smith signals these stereotypes to the viewer through a chiefly associational system, which deftly manipulates the path of our expectations. The structure is stunningly simple and deceptively subtle. We are taken on a journey from one concrete stereotype to its diametric opposite, as images transform and juxtapose to, ultimately, invert our interpretation of what we see and hear."

—Gary Davis