Family

From 1970 to 1972, Arthur Ginsberg and Video Free America recorded the private life of a not-so-average American couple-Carel Row and Ferd Eggan. She is a porn actress and filmmaker; he is a bisexual junkie. The video verite camera captures the desires and frustrations of their evolving relationship and their responses to the ongoing videotaping exercise. The tape, a study in "the effect of living too close to an electronic medium," reveals attitudes and discussions that also render it a fascinating social document of the west coast counterculture.

The fragment contains within it an implied reference to something that was once whole. It suggests damage and violence, time and distance. These qualities I found were integral to my own constitution, and it was with the making of Cooperation Of Parts that this became clear.

“Misfortune makes and breaks you.” I have the misfortune of a history of disruptions, and the fortune of having that history to work with.

County Down is a cross-platform, episodic, digital video, exploring an epidemic of psychosis among the adults in a gated community, coinciding with a teenage girl’s invention of a designer drug. A rave-culture period-piece that harnesses the unwarranted optimism of the 1990s, County Down presents a society so obsessed with novelty and consumerism that it euphorically sews the seeds of its own destruction. Tracking the genesis of our current political climate, the ensemble cast banks on cultural appropriation and a constant din of micro-aggressions.

In this video, made soon after the death of his mother Stella, we accompany George to the wake, and on to a trip to Albert Maysles holiday home on Fisher's Island.

"Deep waters flow around the living, dead and inanimate objects that bring this picture to life on the wide screen tapestry of electronic reality. Come and join the young and old of eastern energies as they bask in the sun and shadows of past sins and future fortunes. See how the other side lives and devours the fruits and nuts that pepper this great nation with neon nutrients worthy of Broadway and beyond!"

Dad’s Stick features three objects that my father showed me shortly before he died. Two of these were so well-used that their original forms and functions were almost completely obscured. The third object seemed to be instantly recognizable, but it turned out to be something else entirely.

Danny, 1987

This video is a moving personal documentary about Danny, a friend of Kybartas who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1986. This powerful work explores the reason for Danny’s return home and his attempts to reconcile his relationship with his family members who had difficulty facing his homosexuality and his imminent death. Retracing Danny’s memory of his once-high lifestyle in the clubs and gyms of Miami, Danny avoids sentimentalizing its subject as it juxtaposes images, text, and voice-over to build a sense of the psychological struggle brought on by Danny’s impending, premature death.

The Disappointment: Or, The Force of Credulity is a documentary about the search for four lost treasures buried on a single farm in Missouri. These treasures include a Spanish explorer's gold, silver from the Civil War, mysterious stone carvings, lost texts, and a wife's attempt to heal her husband and protect herself and her children. Part personal documentary and part historical essay, The Disappointment traces the patterns of cultural forgetting etched in the landscape of the Austin Farm.

Double Sigh is a video in which my mother reenacts a moment from my adolescence. In confronting the viewer directly, my mother's anger, frustration and sadness are imposed on the audience.

-- Julia Hechtman

This title is only available on Suitable Video, Volume 1.

A House Wife's hum-drum world dissolves away into a thorny Passion Play of miraculous visions.

THE DRESS, 2021

THE DRESS: is a projection prop created for a performance piece at the Art Institute in 1984. It was installed in March 2021, suspended in front of a building on the Bowery as both a memorial to my grandmother, a Hungarian immigrant and master seamstress, and to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, of 1911, which occurred a few blocks north of this site.

-EJay Sims

Sassy, iconoclastic, and never-married, Los Angeles filmmaker Susan Mogul rides shotgun with ex-lovers, almost lovers, and her Dad, in a road movie turned inside out. Conversations with each driving man - pornographer, tuba player, TV critic, long haul truck driver, and more - are catalysts to reflect upon the past and comment about the present.

This arresting early work conveys a tension that emanates from what Tanaka posits as life's basic dualities: male/female, past/present, known/unknown. By focusing issues of identity, doubt, wonder, and awareness through the body, and the bodies of her ancestors, Tanaka succeeds in creating a work with both personal and political power. Tanaka creates a unique voice that speaks of her experience of maturing into womanhood, repeating the refrain, "I my mother." An experimental video, this work contains one of the first examples of flicker editing.

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.

A fantasia that makes twisted use of elements from the Elektra myth and vampire stories. Imagine a woman listening to Richard Strauss's Elektra while watching Carl Dryer's Vampyr and the dream she might then have that night. The protagonist imagines herself as Elektra. She has an unhealthy obsession over her dead father Agamemnon. She also passionately despises her mother Clytemnestra, as she is the one who murdered her father. Elektra exhumes the ax used to kill her father in his bath.

Epilogue: The Palpable Invisibility of Life is the final chapter in The Blindness Series, a body of eight videos on blindness and its metaphors that was begun in 1992. The inspiration for the series came from a 1990 exhibition Jacques Derrida curated for the Louvre Museum, titled Memoirs of the Blind.

Filmed in Susan Mogul’s Los Angeles multi-ethnic working class neighborhood, Highland Park, Everyday Echo Street: A Summer Diary, is an insider’s view of how home and neighborhood are constructed in everyday relations. Composed of conversational and anecdotal portraits of neighbors and merchants, Susan ruminates about the past and the present, as she looks out her apartment window. Struggling to arrive at a new definition of “home,” she ponders loss, middle age, and living alone.

An homage to the death of the soap opera, The Evil Eyes is a 1960's era story of a grandmother faced with her mortality, a mother in mid-life crisis, and a son realizing his sexuality - a dysfunctional family whose unspoken angst manifests in the latest episode of their beloved supernatural soap opera, Before Dawn.

Made from silent black and white tube camera footage of the artist taken by her father in the early 70s, this series of loops—through the examination of particular moments and gestures— is evocative for what it reveals and conceals about their relationship.

This title is also available on Helen Mirra Videoworks: Volume 1.

Artist Rabih Mroué looks back at old audio recordings, which were made by him and his parents to be sent as audio letters to his brother while he studied abroad. The old recordings become the site of a political critique of the packaged values of communism, resistance and martyrdom.

This title is only available on Radical Closure.

Over a montage of family photographs, Freed’s narration questions the consistency of memory and self over time, with Freed displaying a quizzical and sometimes hostile relation to her past. In a manner that recalls philosopher Roland Barthes’s poetic unraveling of photography—in particular photography’s power to bind memory and desire within a still image—Freed attempts to uncover the “stranger” that is her childhood self and discover how her past has shaped her present.

Family Court introduces us to the world of good, clean, family fun and leisure. 

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 2, Hot Mirror Mix.

Feathers: An Introduction is a self-portrait centered on the story of Latham's grandmother’s comforter which, old and worn, scatters feathers everywhere. Displaying an arresting stage presence, Latham addresses the viewer as a potential friend or lover, speaking in a soft-spoken near-whisper, and gingerly touching and kissing the camera lens and monitor. Then, almost mocking the video’s intimacy, Latham gives us close-ups of herself chewing a sandwich and shaving her armpits, heightening the sense that she has been playing cat and mouse with the viewer all along.

Fighting Chance is a continuation of Richard Fung’s previous documentary Orientations, which told of the personal challenges and struggles of Asian-Canadian gays and lesbians to express their sexual identities. When Fung produced Orientations in 1984, AIDS had not yet fully manifested itself (particularly among Asians), but by 1991, as we see in Fighting Chance, the epidemic has become threateningly widespread. Individuals and couples candidly discuss the various hurdles and challenges that AIDS has presented.

Fishtank, 1998

An alcoholic, emaciated father; a grossly obese, tattooed mother; a goofy, hormone-addled brother—all together in a claustrophobic council flat. Welcome to the Billinghams'. Richard Billingham wowed the art scene with his book Ray's A Laugh. Fishtank, his first film, charts the emotional territory of the flat and the family who play out their lives within its confines.

five more minutes is an exploration of grief. Two women spend an afternoon recreating lost time. What begins as play-acting breaks open into a world where the tenderness and sorrow of having to say goodbye exist untempered.