List of artists selected by: Alysse Stepanian, Manipulated Image, LA, USA

 

1. Christopher Coleman (Colorado/USA)
Modern Times
2:45 min / 2004
sound design by George Cicci

"Modern Times" examines the issues we cope with regularly such as racism, surveillance, and apathy by using imagery from specific safety brochures. These pamphlets about terrorism readiness, provided by the Department of Homeland Security, are part of a larger system designed to promote meta-fears like terrorism that serve to distract people from their everyday concerns. This animation discusses the effects of fear, apathy, and isolation, and how they are transmitted and utilized for control.

"Modern Times" is an animation created over 18 months and completed in 2005. Because the Department of Homeland Security made their Terrorism Readiness brochures available in digital format, much of the imagery in the video is directly taken from the source, recontextualized, arranged and animated. The original movie, Modern Times, featured Charlie Chaplin struggling to deal with man’s relationship to technology in the Industrial Age. We have now moved into the Age of Information in which our connection to the world around us is not only defined by technology, but the information it does or does not provide.

When first encountering these brochures I was struck by how they, along with other safety illustrations like those found in the back pocket of every airplane seat, are supposed to simultaneously alarm and calm us. There is no sign of fear on the faces of the generic passengers bracing for a water landing. It is interesting to note that while the public was still quite shaken from the events of 9/11 when the US government released these brochures, they were an instant source of ridicule. I have attempted to return their levity but with a different focus.

2. Wei-Ming Ho (Taipei/Taiwan)
The Art-Qaeda Project
4:11 min / 2010

The site-specific video intervenes in the urban landscape. A series of nocturnal projections present the conversation between the images and the city environment. Do the images represent the secret signals, an extraordinary parade or a silent protest.

3. M.R.Adytama Pranada Charda (Bandung and Jakarta/Indonesia)
The Cameo (Collapsing Memory; Savage Series)
0:59 sec / 2011

"Memory has the ability to bridge the 'gap' between the past with the present to connect the principle or personal beliefs to the audience because it has a memory and a similar experience. Memory also has the function not only as a reminder of the past but also as an attempt to reconstruct all the 'things' that represents the current (present). " – Adytama Pranada Charda

I live in Indonesia, a democratic country that since its establishment has had a long history of violent conflicts. This work is about how actually subconsciously, explicitly, the ruling party or the media uses fear and violence as a selling tool and controller, without us realizing that we have 'approved it and enjoy it' through the shows on television, until conflict games – it is also suspected that recent violent conflicts in Indonesia is due to the impression that rampant violence has eventually become 'the role model' and most efficient way to resolve problems. But actually violence has also occurred due to the ruling party's repressive reaction not only in Indonesia, but also in other countries.

G30S/PKI (Communist ‘partai’ uprising) museum diorama's mannequin image that describes the seven military generals, who were kidnapped and tortured by the communist party sympathizers, is projected onto the place of privacy of a home. The G30S/PKI Indonesian Communist Party uprising to overthrow the government was thwarted by General Soeharto. He used this to get rid of his political opponents, consolidate his power, and become the president of Indonesia. This also caused millions of deaths, missing people, detentions on charges of communism without obvious reasons, and millions of other people experienced physical and mental harassment. In my childhood, I was forced to go to the museum and watch the movie about Soeharto's 'Heroism' on the national television. The museums are still running, and with its subtle ruling party these methods are still used.

4. Guli Silberstein (London/UK)
Disturbdance
3:25 min / 2012

Like in a choreographed dance scene, on a little hill in a rough landscape, a young woman is trying to obstruct two armed soldiers from firing at a group of protesters in a village behind her. The surreal but real image, picked up from the multiplicity of news clips found online, is digitally processed, turning the video from journalistic to allegorical. The video moves to an abstract and estranged level, highlighting the unexpected interruption to a never-ending cycle of violence, reminding us of a human component which is still there; or is it?

“Truth to tell, the best weapon against myth is perhaps to mystify it in its turn, and to produce an artificial myth: and this reconstituted myth will in fact be a mythology”
Roland Barthes.

5. Alysse Stepanian (Los Angeles/USA)
Roghieh
5:31 min / 2009

This video is based on Stepanian's early dream journal shortly after moving to the U.S. from post-revolutionary Iran. “Roghieh” paints a surreal picture of the early stages of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, when it empowered the underprivileged, who had a significant role in the overthrow of an elitist regime. A cleaning lady’s broom becomes a weapon symbolizing newfound strength. She jumps into the revolution from the wall-less bedroom of a young girl caught in the middle of great social changes and role reversals.

6.Farideh Shahsavarani (Tehran/Iran & Chicago/USA)
Circulus Vitiosus
00:48 sec / 2010

It Is man made. In every form, size and whatever substance, earthly or ethereal. It shelters us from nature's violent forces, as it hinders us to see the light rising from the horizon. It has become, through times, part of our heritage. Part of the genetic structure of our civilization.

WE ALL, women as men have had our share of rising them to heavens, or surrounding our nearest and dearest by them, condemning those to live in hell.

Deep inside, we are imprisoned by our own fears, prejudice and ignorance. These invisible ones are the most vicious.

Therefore The emergence of the myth of FREEDOM.

I am talking about WALLS.

7.Morehshin Allahyari (Dallas & Denver/USA)
The Romantic Self-Exiles 1
5:05 min / 2012
Video and Text: Morehshin Allahyari
Sound Design: Ivo Bol

To build a land; an imaginary home. To push the limits of real and unreal, memory and imagination, locality and universality, self-censorship and self-exile, time and space. To put together my most vivid memories on flat planes or 3D cubes. Inside and outside the empty rooms, rooms without bodies, rooms left behind. To construct the remembered, missed, identical objects. Things I care for, love the most, miss the most... To put together every five sense of my body into one (“sight”) through text and animation. A reflection and presentation of emotional attachments. Collective and personal.

8.Jonathan Monaghan (New York/USA)
Dauphin 007
3:11 min / 2011

Referring to the heir-apparent to the French throne, Dauphin 007 is a short animation which draws on elements and narratives surrounding French monarchy. The Dauphin is portrayed as a would-be king lion who meets an untimely demise after an eagle snatches his crown away. Medical devices re-occur throughout the animation, hinting at a more contemporary form of institutional control. With an almost irreverent use and misuse of these references the film attempts to create an absurd reality that is both familiar and alien at the same time.

9.Eric Hynynen (Ivalo/Finland)
Boxed
0:42 secs / 2010

(This video was originally part of an installation)
Boxed takes place in an office that has been completely destroyed. Within this apocalyptic vision, a monitor displays the act of destruction as recorded by surveillance cameras. There is one video within another video.

“Boxed” expresses a concern for the shortening or loss of childhood in today’s world. Training for working life and a good job starts earlier and earlier. Kids are often under a great deal of pressure, as they compete against others within the education system. This begins at an earlier and earlier age. Increasingly, out of fear, we train (educate?) our young to become tools for those in power. Our children must be prepared for the competition of life, or they will be left behind.

10.Kasumi (USA)
JIMMY
2:55 min / 2008

Text by Douglas Max Utter
At just under three minutes in length, Jimmy sketches a complex study of fear in search of a context. This emerges as a half-perceived storyline strung between images suggesting family relationships and acts of violence. It begins with a distant, soft scream, and an approaching siren. The found, painted and distressed celluloid footage include repeated sequences of a boy running awkwardly alongside the wall of a school building. He’s a child of the latest mythic American past, with crew-cut, striped t-shirt and shorts. His arms are at his sides, helplessly limp as his bare knees pump around a brick corner into shadow. A man in a dark suit strides briskly after him. A male voice speaks the lines, “Jimmy is emotionally sick. His terror of others cannot be dismissed as mere shyness.” Thick with prejudgment, the voiceover takes on the finality of an inquisitorial sentence; a witch has been found. The imagery tells us the obvious: he can run, but he can’t hide. Then Kasumi moves quickly into a montage of violent scenes set against a rhythmic, industrial-martial soundtrack. An older boy is seen swinging an ax; a woman’s face fills the screen -- she looks insane. Another woman is running down a corridor, a man is falling, a man swings his arm as if hitting something with all his strength. Several times we hear the words “Desolate, barren, empty.” This wasteland-like evocation introduces larger themes. Violence, isolation, even psychosis, are the inevitable social outcomes of the abuse of power. Brief clips of what might be a military training film show a man walking away from a gun turret; strong light behind him compresses his shadowy image: he becomes wraith-like, an alien in a nightmare. Then, soon, it all ends, as Jimmy’s tear-stained face looks woefully upward, toward horrible realities he can neither comprehend nor change. The political implications that emerged from Jimmy suggested the themes of blowback and retribution that characterize the political content in the films that followed.

11.Michael Lasater (Indiana/USA)
Billboard
5:21 min / 2007

A monotonous snare drum riff drives this composition. With each drum roll words fly and tumble onto the screen, then exit. A man in neon outline eats ravenously, constantly. The rhetoric of Billboard is that of mass advertising, vaudeville, and TV situation comedy. It's a sales piece, designed first and foremost to simply get and hold the attention of the audience. What it's selling is a message with several possible interpretations.

< Previous ...................Next >