Video Data Bank has assembled a video program composed of work by internationally-recognized artists who believe that art and other forms of expression can be a means toward a more equitable society. The works from this program range from the documentation of creative street actions to fictionalized histories and experimental documentaries, which together illustrate how contemporary video serves as an important site for creative approaches to politics and extremely serious fun. Screened to much acclaim in cities across the country in the last few months, this program can be said to embody the sentiment that if there isn’t dancing during the revolution, we don’t want to join in. Come join us for Dancing For Dara, a screening composed of beautiful, radiant things that shine in the face of exploitation, incarceration, illness, environmental destruction, and prejudice.
This program is a benefit screening for Dara Greenwald, video artist, former guest curator of Magic Lantern, and activist, who is currently battling cancer. Through her work, she has met and befriended hundreds of people working in the creative and activist communities over the years. The artists assembled in this program are only a few of the friends that are coming together to help Dara and her partner, Josh Macphee, get through this very difficult time. The enthusiasm and dedication of her community is a testament to her generous spirit, her sense of humor, and how important she is to us as a friend, organizer, and fellow-artist.
ALL proceeds from this program will go directly to Dara to help her in her battle with cancer. Unable to work during her treatments, these funds will help to pay Dara’s medical expenses not covered by her insurance, her daily living expenses, and enable Josh to take more time off of work to be a full-time caregiver.
For more information about Dara’s art and curatorial work: http://www.daragreenwald.com/
For more information about how to help Dara: http://healdarag.org/about/
Pink Bloque, Dancing in the Street (Domestic Violence Awareness Month Rally), October 2003, video, 8:00
The Pink Bloque (2001-2005) was a Chicago-based radical feminist dance troupe dedicated to challenging the white supremacist capitalist patriarchal empire one street dance party at a time. In October 2003, the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, a coalition of more than 100 service providers in the Chicago area who assist domestic violence victims, asked Pink Bloque to participate in an awareness event. Unlike dancing bears, robot men, and circus clowns, they did not perform on cue, but this video documents how they joined in the spectacle. — Jane Bryan Ball
Ben Coonley, One Trick Pony, 2002, video, 4:50
“Film nerds who haven’t seen Ben Coonley’s “One Trick Pony” are in for a real treat tonight. In this almost five-minute-long 2002 short, a toy pony—yes, you read that right—offers dance instructions for the Texas two-step. If that sounds a little simple, it is, but this cheeky short can still catch you off-guard.” Bret McCabe
Tara Matiek, Operation Invert, 2003, video, 12:30
Are gender outlaws considered the new biological terrorists seeking weapons of mass bodily destruction? OPERATION INVERT compares the different regulations mediating botox-related plastic surgery and gender re-assignment “sex change.”- t.m.
Caspar Stracke & Gabriela Monroy, Kuleshov Sukiyaki, 2004, video, 2:58
This video is based on the music piece “Systole No 2″ by Terre Thaemlitz. Analog to this “systolic” sound collage, Kuleshov Sukiyaki contains a patchwork of clips from 70’s erotica and soft porn movies which highlight similar emotional moments, including the befores and afters of orgasm scenes. c.s. & g.m.
Melinda Stone & Igor Vamos, Suggested Photo Spots, 1997, video, 10:00
Using irony as a weapon, this documentary records the placement of over fifty “suggested photo spot” signs for tourists across North America, at such locations as military test sites and industrial excavation centres. Other “scenic” areas: the fence running along the USA/Mexican border on Tijuana Beach, which extends well into the ocean; an abandoned oil drilling site in Utah; the New York City sludge depository (situated in Texas since there is no space left for all the sludge engulfing New York); and the waste water treatment facility of the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York.- Vincent Bonin
Jim Finn, Sharambaba, 1999, video, 3:00
A young communist girl named Sharambaba resists her suitor in a carriage. She speaks of what he calls her “fantasy world”. All of the dialogue is played backwards with accommodating subtitles. (vdb)
Jem Cohen, Little Flags, 2000, video, 6:30
Cohen shot Little Flags in black and white on the streets of lower Manhattan during an early-’90s military ticker-tape parade and edited the footage years later. The crowd noises fade and Cohen shows the litter flooding the streets as the urban location looks progressively more ghostly and distant from the present. Everyone loves a parade—except for the dead. (vdb)
Paul Chan, Untitled Video on Lynne Stewart and Her Conviction, The Law and Poetry, 2006, video, 17:30
Untitled… is a video portrait of Lynne Stewart who was convicted of providing material support for a terrorist conspiracy. She is the first lawyer to be convicted of aiding terrorism in the United States.. The video focuses on the relationship between the language of poetry and the language of the law. Stewart speaks both languages, and employs poetry as a “knotting point” to connect ideas of beauty and justice for juries and judges alike. The film takes Stewart’s understanding of poetry and the law as a departure point to explore the possibilities of a poetics capable of articulating the pressures of terror and justice. (vdb)
Dara Greenwald with Ona Mirkinson, The Package, 2010, video, 12:00
This video explores questions concerning political repression by looking at the activity of militant care as expressed through writing, visiting, and advocating for political prisoners.