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By the time of the publication of the Warren Commission Report, many students of the Kennedy Assassination had already dismissed that document as a piece of fiction. Today, the ensuing legacy of liberal conspiracy theory has given us but a new fiction, similarly disappointing, replete with a sentimental Hollywood ending. Countering this tendency, the works in tonight’s program point beyond the mere whodunit to tackle different, more provocative questions. From Kennedy to Reagan, these works suggest that behind media images of violence and disorder lies not a singular ‘truth’ of events but, more tellingly, a seductive and lingering state of fascination that has attained mythic proportions.
Report Bruce Conner, 13 min, 1963-67.
In a montage of found footage, material from the Kennedy Assassination is combined with commercials and images of death from popular culture. “Society thrives on violence…From the bullfight arena to the nuclear arena we clamour for the spectacle of destruction.” (J. Kroll, Newsweek)
The Eternal Frame Ant Farm & T.R. Uthco, 23 min, 1976.
An exquisitely detailed re-creation of the Kennedy Assassination by a group of artists, performed and videotaped on location at Dealy Plaza. Simulacra loom large in this funny but incisive take on image politics and myth-making in American culture.
A Public Appearance and a Statement Keith Sanborn, 25 min, 1987.
A kinescope of a live broadcast of Kennedy’s body arriving at Andrew’s Air Force Base unfolds in real time, with minimal intervention on the part of the filmmaker. A mass medium loses its cool under the pressure of events as newscasters struggle to explain what has happened.
Man with a Movie Camera (Blonde; He Appears to Be Young) Keith Sanborn, 7 min, 1982.
Sounds from the Reagan Assassination attempt are implicated with found footage of a Kennedy-era rec room, where a woman is making a strangely Zapruderesque home-movie.
Perfect Video Brian Goldberg & Jackie Goss, 5 min, 1989.
A found videotape of degraded out-takes of the Reagan Assassination attempt, transferred to film.
Excerpts and Euphoria Ed Mowbray, 11 min, 1983.
Television collides with and interrogates itself, to an eerie effect, in this high-tech re-working of images and sound bites from the Reagan Assassination attempt.