The Exception Show

Curated by Paige Sarlin

The Exception Show,” designed and printed by Polina Malikin

The Exception Show,” designed and printed by Polina Malikin

The exception proves the rule—or so we say. But what about when the exception is the rule? When rules are established in order to be broken? When Law is suspended in an effort to maintain a sense of order? The work in this Exception Show will cross a series of borders, dispense with a range of rules, and vacillate between the deadly serious and the humorous, between the political documentary and the poetic in an effort to consider the violence of lines drawn to designate difference and the current state of Law in which Freedom is suspended for the sake of Freedom. With only three contemporary videos (and one film), this show is a sort of exception to your typical Magic Lantern evening— and for that very reason, it’s one you shouldn’t miss.

FEATURING: White Balance (to think is to forget difference) by Francois Bucher (32:00, video, 2002), Picture and Sound Rushes by Morgan Fisher (11:00, 16mm, 1973), Europlex by Ursula Biemann and Angela Sanders (20:00, video, 2003), Untitled Video on Lynne Stewart and Her Conviction, the Law and Poetry by Paul Chan (17:30, video, 2006)

TRT 80:30

SYNOPSIS:

White Balance (to think is to forget difference) by Francois Bucher (32:00, video, 2002) “White Balance (to think is to forget difference)” is an effort to uncover the geographies of power, the frontiers of privilege. It revisits the question of whiteness from different angles, creating short circuits of meaning that are hosted by improbable audiovisual matches. Media and internet footage is intermixed with images shot in downtown Manhattan before and after the September 11th attacks. The piece opts for a poetic language, an address that seeks to arouse thought by concentrating on the openings of the audiovisual experience, in the short-lived moment of the in-between.

Picture and Sound Rushes by Morgan Fisher (11:00, 16mm, 1973) This classic of structuralist film is more than just a lecture on the rules that govern the relationship between sound and image in conventional films. While the narrator sits at a table to deliver this message, the film actually illustrates what it looks and sounds like to see those rules exposed and broken.

Europlex by Ursula Biemann and Angela Sanders (20:00, video, 2003) The fourth in a series of video essays that investigate migration across borders, EUROPLEX, tracks the daily, sometimes illicit, border crossings between Morocco and Spain- a rare intersection of the first and third worlds. Paying off officials to look the other way, workers smuggle contraband across the border, sometimes crossing up to 11 times a day. In a now common scenario of global economics, Moroccan women work in North Africa to produce goods destined for the European market. And in perhaps the most surreal example of border logic, domesticas commute into a Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory, losing two hours as they step into the European time zone. With a mesmerizing soundtrack and a dizzying blend of video footage, digital graphics and text, the film exposes a fascinating, often hidden layer in the cultural and economic landscape between Europe and Africa- revealing the new rules and profound implications of globalization.

Untitled Video on Lynne Stewart and Her Conviction, the Law and Poetry by Paul Chan (17:30, video, 2006) A simple and moving portrait of Lynne F. Stewart, the New York lawyer convicted in 2005 of aiding Islamic terrorism by smuggling messages out of jail from a client she was defending, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. Now disbarred, Ms. Stewart faces a 30-year jail sentence. In the portrait, Lynne Stewart talks about her life as an elementary school librarian, activist and lawyer, and recites poetry by Blake, Brecht and Ashbery.