Re: apropos of onion city

From: Cari Machet (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jun 27 2006 - 09:18:41 PDT

thanks for ur posting

On 6/25/06, Bernard Roddy <email suppressed> wrote:
> Thank God for Chicago Filmmakers, Onion City, and this
> list, to which I humbly submit my thoughts after
> seeing several shows of the Onion City festival and
> reflecting on the gender issue undertaken here.
> The process of awarding films bestows a suspicious
> aura on them. It's not supposed to bear on politics,
> but what are the grounds for an award? A
> mapping,perhaps, taking note of themes of interest,
> slating artistic strategies for possible scrutiny, but
> merit? There was an exhibit at Gallery 400 at UIC a
> month or two ago in which the photographer posed black
> homeless men nude, a gesture that seems to relish the
> racialized regime of the historically constructed
> meanings surrounding black men in America. She
> videotaped her shoots with the men in a motel, she
> being a middle-aged, white, art professor,
> demonstrating her affinity with the men as they
> suppressed erections and tried to relax. And I
> noticed that William Pope L. is doing a performance,
> Black Factory, at the same gallery on June 27. Given
> such scheduling there must be an awareness of the
> problematic nature of the photography exhibit. I was
> shocked and confused by it, and being also suspicious
> that there was more going on than I realized, continue
> to reflect on it now.

can you please explain why u were shocked and confused?

 I have also attended a couple
> open screenings at Chicago Filmmakers over the past
> year, and the last one I attended was packed. What's
> more, there was a large contingent of black spectators
> who were not particularly concerned about Art World
> decorum.

which is what exactly?

The video I still remember was evidently
> made by a black audience member in the seat next to
> me.
> These thoughts inflect my reading of the computer
> animation that I saw at the Onion City festival, which
> showed a black youth facing a storm. It was awarded,
> and rightly so. But I thought it was interesting that
> the makers dedicated it to a medium-committed,
> expressionist filmmaker recently reviewed in Artforum
> magazine, and that it was as far as it was from the
> traditional intent of experimental film (very unlike
> cut-out animation using 19th century engravings, for
> example, or the latest installment of "what the water
> said"). And it struck me that the transition to
> digital work is indeed taking place, but carefully,
> lest it disrupt the focus on a certain canon and
> museological vision. Such a transition must
> apparently be led by the same artists, or roughly the
> same group, that has upheld the purity of
> optically-based cinema. This is probably rather
> simplistic, but it seems that in order to break new
> ground and complicate the terms of experimental film,
> you have to originate from the ideological environment
> that sustains what already goes by the name.
> While we tend to focus on diversity in production, it
> is important to think about it in reception. Who sees
> these films? How does reception affect future
> production? The experimental film imaginary is a
> machine without language, color, or women.


The very
> permissibility of speech seems to be in question.
> Most films are shown on video, so the expense of
> optical soundtracks cannot account for this. Another
> way to reflect on audience is to draw on notions from
> media studies. In that context, "constructing an
> audience" is what an advertising campaign does when it
> sets out to produce certain consumption habits by
> means of television or radio programming. Such
> programs are aimed at people who are not yet organized
> by their purchasing habits and are directed by
> marketing strategies. Selling Coke in Thailand
> requires the construction of a new kind of audience
> for television programs where advertising can appear.
> In this sense, experimental film must maintain its
> audience. Nor should we neglect the process by which
> viewers are invited to accept certain subject
> positions. A Hollywood film will be addressed to a
> certain kind of audience, one not necessarily defined
> demographically,

but rather a hypothetical, desired
> ideal. Reflecting on most experimental film, I would
> say there is little doubt that it constructs a subject
> that is male, white and heterosexual.

yes well that is what lacan was talking about the audience
but more the audience in our head
our psyche's audience
and we need to unwrap the tendrils of the white man's (boy's) identity
inside our own heads
for no greater reason than it is not our own


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.