Language

1975
Semiotics of the Kitchen

From A to Z in this mock cooking-show demonstration Rosler 'shows and tells' the ingredients of the housewife's day. She offers an inventory of tools that names and mimics the ordinary with movements more samurai than suburban. Rosler's slashing gesture as she forms a letter of the alphabet in the air with a knife and fork is a rebel gesture, punching through the 'system of harnessed subjectivity' from the inside out.

"I was concerned with something like the notion of 'language speaking the subject', and with the transformation of the woman herself into a sign in a system of signs that represent a system of food production, a system of harnessed subjectivity."

— Martha Rosler

2006
Shuddhabrata Sengupta: An Interview

In this interview, Indian artist Shuddhabrata Sengupta (b. 1968) discusses his role in the initiation of the Raqs Media Collective, a Delhi-based artist collective, active since the 1990s. At the time of this interview, Raqs had been creating documentaries, art installations, and educational programs for eighteen years. Sengupta likens the driving force of Raqs to that of a game of catch, a process generated by a back-and-forth dialogue mobilized through writing and in-person meetings. As children of the late sixties, Sengupta explains how and why the members of Raqs, (himself, Jeebesh Bagchi and Monica Narula) share an interest in investigating mass communication, technologies of visibility, and the significance of memory and travel. It is also for this reason, Sengjupta explains, that the Collective’s work is committed to fostering rigorous research in addition to art-making endeavors.

2013

Paul and Veena, two disembodied computer voices, wonder what things mean and what means things. We travel with them to various imagined places in this visually spare video, meditating on the in-between places and negative space where meaning hides out. Their discourse is interrupted by non-verbal utterances and coughs, out of which Magenheimer’s voice sings Everybody’s Talkin’ by Fred Neil, then disappears again, sinking back into the digital sonic depths.

1999
Sharambaba

A young communist girl named Sharambaba resists her suitor in a carriage. She speaks of what he calls her "fantasy world". All of the dialogue is played backwards with accommodating subtitles.

This title is also available on Jim Finn Videoworks: Volume 1.

1984
Sign on a Truck

On the eve of the 1984 Presidential election, Jenny Holzer used a truck equipped with a sound system and an 18-foot Diamond Vision electronic board to display images, statements, and man-on-the-street interviews. This tape presents a tightly edited version of the art, texts, and interviews that occurred throughout the day.

2015

We hear a female voice with a subtle Jamaican accent speak about her life. Sometimes we see an image; a bird, two birds, fire, someone digging a giant hole, cake, a red anvil with an effervescent essence, and sometimes we are left in the dark with only our imaginations in this sound-driven video. Along the way we consider the nature of human existence, the transfiguring power of sex, and the physicality of words.

2014
John Smith: An Interview

John Smith, throughout his 40-year career, has approached the moving image from film, video and installations, generating a tremendous body of work that’s as diverse in its topics as it is in its methods. Weaving between early structuralist film and more personal, diaristic, documentary approaches to the places in which he lived, most notably London, his output is both broad and varied.

2000
So To Speak

Employing the 'case studies' of Helen Keller, Genie the 'wild child' and Angel at My Table author Janet Frame, Goss's extraordinary video contemplates the struggle to be heard, to break free from the prison of the incommunicable self. '[A] tour of the house and grounds of language,' constructed with beguiling visual spaces and surfaces, startling edits, and insinuatingly layered sound design. —New York Video Festival (2000)

1998
A Song from the Cultural Revolution

 

A Song from the Cultural Revolution is a stuttering music video composed of appropriated footage of Bill Gates’s testimony before the U.S. Senate. Gates’s hand gestures have been re-edited, frame-by-frame, into ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) signs for a text from “Methods of Thinking, Methods of Work,” Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (New York: Bantam, 1967).

This title is also available on Les LeVeque Videoworks: Volume 1.

1982
The Speech

This tape grew out of my fascination with Ronald Reagan and his uncanny ability to demonstrate what I called the 'Signifiers of Americanism'. Through gesture and intonation, he seemed to suggest many of the virtues that Americans hold dear. Although not directly about Reagan, The Speech suggests some of these issues, while remaining purposely ambiguous. The tape is really a speech about speeches.

— Doug Hall

This title is also available on Presidents and Elections.

2015
Steve Hates Fish

Filmed directly from the screen of a smartphone using a language translator app that has been told to translate from French into English, Steve Hates Fish interprets the signage and architecture in a busy London shopping street. In an environment overloaded with information, the signs run riot as the confused and restless software does its best to fulfill its task.

2006
Kent Lambert "Sunset Coda"

After the shrieks and howls of Hymn of Reckoning, I felt that I needed to close out the Oto trilogy with a gentle flashback, to a 1980s sunset beach on a tropical island. The bulk of this video’s work was in animating the speech-bubbles so that they’d blend in with the VHS scene. Playing the scene once and ending the piece felt too fast and fleeting, and I feared that nuances in the conversation would be lost, so I approached it like a verse in a simple, one-part song: I repeated it once again, with just the slightest modifications to its sonic textures.

1995
Swallow

Based on accounts of girlhood anorexia, Swallow unravels the masked and shifting symptoms that define clinical depression. With a densely layered soundtrack, humorous and painful scenes of potential psychological breakdown reveal a critical loss of meaning, and the failure to diagnose mental illness. Weaving narrative, documentary, and experimental strategies, Swallow intimately traces the awkward steps from unacknowledged depression to self-recognition.

2015

"Fusco revives and embodies the chimpanzee animal psychologist Dr. Zira from the original Planet of the Apes films of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In her Skyped-in introduction, esteemed feminist theorist and technoscience philosopher Donna Haraway explains that Dr. Zira narrowly escaped death in the third film and has been living in hiding, observing human behavior through visual culture. In her lecture, Dr.

2012
The Name is not the Thing named, Deborah Stratman

In support of experiences that are essentially common, but to which language does not easily adhere, the video passes through places that are both themselves, and stand-ins for others. The title is taken from Aleister Crowley’s 1918 translation of the Tao Te Ching.

Camera, Edit, Sound Design: Deborah Stratman

Music: Eliane Radigue