Language

2002
Just

Through a process of degeneration of both sound and image, Just endows the iconic American flag with new context and implication. The image is repeated by generations, using different processes such as digital video, computer printout and photocopying, and then combined with degenerated sound. Single frames of original digital images are exported, and evolve through the repetition of process, before being metamorphosed back to digital image by scanning and rendering.

1978
Peer Bode, Keying Distinctions

"Bricks, white noise, video. Free floating sync, altered, drifiting camera: video image and time. Keying permutations, switching via gray level values, using a modified b+w Sony special effects generator (SEG). Building the building, one brick at a time. In video what is a brick? In spite of what was then a fierce cultural doxa, an anti-materialist pressure, and being quite anti-anti-materialist I was working hard to coax out significant features as expressive intensity zones, electronic energy points always engaging with the signals."  

– Peer Bode

2002
Language Lessons

Language Lessons entwines the search for the fountain of youth with the dream of a common language. The fountain both promises and frustrates eternity, while this dream offers hope for common ground. The lessons, made vivid by watery, elemental images and multiple voices, suggest that communication remains at the limits of our imagination.

Music by Pamela Z.

1998
Cecilia Dougherty, Leslie

In the early 1990s, I went to a reading by Leslie Scalapino at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. I could not understand the writing, which can seem difficult and unwieldy to a reader unaccustomed to language poetry, and understood less the more I tried. After a certain point in the reading I stopped trying to figure it out and I let the words seep in. My reward was an effortless understanding of how her poetry works.

2011
Lesser Apes

Lesser Apes tells the story of a love affair between a primatologist, Farrah, and a female bonobo ape, Meema. Bonobos are the species with which humans share the most DNA, but unlike our species, they are matriarchal, live without conflict, and are unabashedly sexual. A paean to perversion, the film combines animation, live action and song to challenge attitudes about sex, language and our relationship to nature.

1977
Antonio Muntadas, Liege 12.9.77

Produced in Liege for Belgium TV, this tape considers how broadcast television functions in a multi-lingual area. A televised Tower of Babble, Muntadas shows the rigid conformity of style and content enforced through the medium, drawing attention to the similiar format of the programs broadcast in different languages.

2014
Barry Doupe, Life and People

"Playing like a series of overheard conversations, Life and People grapples with communication, language, and recitation by staging common situations—a doctor’s prognosis, a teacher’s report to a parent—in the director’s signature deadpan, but replicating the awkward interactions of his animation to live-action performances."

-- BAMcinematek, Migrating Forms, 2014

2004
Los Videograffitis (A Selection from Ethno-techno)

Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Gustavo Vazquez, Daniel Salazar, Patrick Litchy, Jethro Rothe-Kushel

2016
Sara Magenheimer: An Interview

Sara Magenheimer earned her MFA at Bard in 2013 and has since shown her work internationally in Canada, Iceland, the Czech Republic, and Denmark. Her cross-disciplinary practice plays with the juxtaposition between the form and content of language, exposing the absurdity of expected meanings.

2011
MICKRYS

This video is about two fictional characters, as in letters, and two fictional characters, as in anthropomorphized mice, falling in love. Just as they start their love-dance they are separated by The Hand of language/culture/logic and are forced to learn and embody new signifiers in order to reunite at the end and finish dancing.

1982
Mutiny

Mutiny employs a panoply of expression, gesture, and repeated movement. Its central images are of women: at home, on the street, at the workplace, at school, talking, singing, jumping on trampolines, playing the violin. The syntax of the film reflects the possibilities and limitations of speech, while “politically, physically, and realistically” flirting with the language of opposition.

1992
Nation

Commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art and The American Center in Paris as part of their international Trans Voices project, Nation flashes contradictory formulations of language, politics, and medicine across a sharp and close screen. Blurring geography with the body's landscape, Nation reminds us that our bodies, like land, have been shaped by history into zones to be charted, conquered, divided, or made whole. "Think globally act locally," in one dense minute.

2015
Notes on Gesture

Inspired by a riff on a popular joke “Everybody wanna be a black woman but nobody wanna be a black woman,” Notes On Gesture is a video comparing authentic and dramatic gestures. The piece uses the 17th Century text Chirologia: Or the Natural Language of the Hand as a guide to create an inventory of gestures for performance. The piece alternates between title cards proposing hypothetical situations and short, looping clips that respond. The actor uses her body to quote famous, infamous, and unknown women.

2012

An absurdist demonstration of how the alphabet works.

1998
OBSERVER / OBSERVED and Other Works of Video Semiology

This video trilogy of Camera, Monitor, Frame, Observer / Observed, and Observer / Observed / Observer creates a semiology of video as a work on video rather than a written text.  Its main purpose is to study the structural relationships between video and language, in this case using the English language.  I designed a system depicting the relationship between the observer and the person being observed using words such as "I" and "YOU" through a video feedback system as the basis.  This trilogy is a remake of my 1975-76 piece.  It is shorter in