Part of Spring 1992
North America’s urban landscape is illuminated by pixelboards and video monitors, accessorized by the ever present hum synonymous with with our post-industrial age. Overwhelmed by 24 hour ‘convenience’, our 20th century nervous system is in a state of sensory overload. In order to cope, we induce an artificial form of tunnel vision in an effort to lighten our psychic load. However, psychic tunnel vision is a placebo which offers only temporary relief from the symptoms of a media infection. With no cure on the horizon, addiction, alienation, depression and suicide continue to erode the face of modern society. The five films in this program attempt to focus our attention on our media complacency. Mary Filippo’s recent film Feel the Fear descends into the world of of television manipulation and explores our religious addiction to drugs and alcohol. As viewers, we begin to conflate the horrific with the humourous until we begin to far both. Al Razutis’ mind numbing assault 98.3 KHz (Bridge in an Electrical Storm) makes us consider how technology has shaped our notion of reality. Mike Cartmell examines the loss of identity when the patriarchal figure through which lineage is traced is unknown. Mike Hoolboom questions who controls the authorial voice, and why we are so anxious to obey it.
In the Form of the Letter X M. Cartmell, 5 min, 1986.
“This film is concerned with names in general, with the question of naming and identity, and with problems attendant to naming…” A young boy running down a hill is reformed/deformed from a recognizable image of childhood excitement into a disturbing dissection of the human form. The original reversal image is inverted and played backwards, distorting the recognizable child into a monster. What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Our names give us our identity and without them we are unidentifiable, untraceable.
Louisiana Purchase Mike Hoolboom, 10 min, 1982.
Once he has focused our concentration on the screen ahead, Hoolboom’s disembodied voice questions who has access to the privilege of a filmic voice and, once granted, the extent to which this authority is unquestioned by both the filmmaker and the viewing audience. Lousiana Purchase investigates this power of control through footage from 1950’s tourism and customer appreciation films/advertisements
98.3 KHz (Bridge in an Electrical Storm) A.Razutis, 13 min, 1966-73.
In an industrialized world, a storm is the only untameable natural force. In a society dependent on technology, a storm can immobilize and create a form of claustrophobia. “Original footage was shot in super-8 at 60 miles per hour…the bridge as structure and visual archetype interfacing with broadcast auras at the moment of the electrical storm. A testament to the coming of the electronic and video age.”
Modern Times Mike Hoolboom, 6 min, 1991.
Hoolboom’s most recent film transcribes the history of the body as a moving image/object. From Chaplin’s portrayal of the worker as caught in the wheel of industry, to the rapid-fire representation of skin over skin, this is a body legitimated by light.
Feel the Fear M. Filippo, 24 min, 1990
Television and alcohol are tools of mass manipulation. Both are readily avaliable, easy to use and encourage us to forget the threats they pose to our mental and physical health. Who controls the distribution of these drugs and how do they profit from our drugged, passive states? Using found footage and audio from ‘authoritative’ sources such as medical films documentaing the effects of alcohol, Filippo makes us continually aware of the darker question – who’s controlling all of this reality anyway?