Part of Summer 1999
Beth B. will be present to screech and discuss her recent video Voices Unheard (1997, 58 min., Hi-8 video). This investigative documentary explores juvenille sex offenders, specifically 13 to 18 year old, living in Middle America in the tough, intelligent way one expects a Beth B film to proceed. Those who have follwed her work, from the Super-8 punk days to her most recent productions in all realms of moving image art (be it avant garde, feature films, or museum/art gallery installations), have seen the development of a major artistic vision and voice engaging some of the more disturbing aspects of contemporary reality. Beth B emerged from the 70s New York underground art scene making Super-8 movies about ghoulish acts of espionage involving leather-clad special agents and their pseudo secret armies. The question of where these armies come from and the precise nature of their oppression has been the driving force behind B’s extraordinary prolific career which has developed over the past two decades to include all realms of moving image art: photo installation, feature films, documentaries, and short experimental works.
Tonight’s program returns to these highly charged early Super 8 and Hi-8 video works: Letters to Dad (’79) looks at the relation of power between Jim Jones and his followers; Belladonna (’89) draws texts from such loaded sources as Josef Mengele’s trial testimony and Freud’s work on sadomasochism; Out of Sight/Out of Mind (’95) continues the critique of one’s relationship to power going beyond a simple reading of who has it and who doesn’t. The program concludes with the Canadian premiere of Voices Unheard (’98), a riveting in-depth documentary about the incarceration of juvenile sex offenders. Interviews with the youths, their shrinks and straight taping of group therapy sessions exposes a deeply complex cycle of violence, as many of these youths are victims of abuse themselves. The question is posed: can early treatment prevent children from becoming adult offenders. Other works in the program include:
Belladonna, 1989, 12 min., Hi-8 video (Co-produced by painter and Beth’s mother Ida Applebroog)
Letters to Dad, co-directed, 1979, 13min., Super-8
Out of Sight/Out of Mind, 1995, 6 min., Hi-8 video