Re: exp work on disasters?

From: Thomas Beard (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Jan 10 2008 - 13:21:37 PST

Hey Dara,

I curated a show at Ocularis a few years back called The Imagination of
Disaster that includes a number of titles that might be relevant to your


The Imagination of Disaster
"The environment was increasingly unstable..."
For Susan Sontag, the imagination of disaster was all about sci-fi movies
and ŗthe peculiar beauties to be found in wreaking havoc, making a mess.˛ No
stranger to danger, Ocularis melts down those metaphors with a
rubble-rousing program of film and video. From Kevin Eversonšs split screen
tale of love and loss at the hands of the elements, to Bobby Abatešs
pixilated stream of pornographic catastrophe, these experiments are all too
relevant in a new age of American anxiety, cold rags to our hurricane
Work to be screened:
Searching Ruins on Broadway, Galveston, For Dead Bodies
Edison Manufacturing Company, 35mm, 1900, 52 seconds
"At the first news of the disaster by cyclone and tidal wave that devastated
Galveston on Saturday, Sept. 8th, 1900, we equipped a party of photographers
and sent them by special train to the scene of the ruins. Arriving at the
scene of desolation shortly after the storm had swept over that city, our
party succeeded, at the risk of life and limb, in taking about a thousand
feet of moving pictures. In spite of the fact that Galveston was under
martial law and that the photographers were shot down at sight by the
excited police guards, a very wide range of subject has been secured. The
series, taken as a whole, will give the entire world a definite idea of the
terrible disaster, unequaled since the Johnstown flood of 1889...These films
are now drawing immense crowds at Eden Musee and Proctor's vaudeville houses
in New York City. Procure these films and increase the receipts of your
exhibitions. This great disaster which has startled the entire world, has
made an indelible impression on the minds of the public, and everyone will
be interested in seeing authentic moving pictures of a representative
American city almost entirely wiped out by the combined power of water and
wind...ours are positively the only animated picture films secured while the
city of Galveston was in a state of chaos." - Edison Film Catalog
From Pompeii to Xenia
Kevin Everson, 16mm, 2003, 4 min
"Some wept for themselves, others, for their relations."
One volcano. One tornado. Two cities and two sets of lovers. A narrative of
bereavement that cuts across time, latitudes, and longitudes.
Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolle, 35mm on video, 2001, 10 min
"Articulates a fascination with, and symbolism of, fire. A sleeping man
dreams of an uninhabited urban landscape as flames engulf his bed; nearby, a
woman is consumed by flames as she sits in a stuffed armchair, watching the
man. A man enters a bathroom, where his image in the mirror burns while he
washes and brushes his teeth, unscathed. A man and woman argue in a room
where small fires begin to consume their clothing and their surroundings. As
their argument becomes more violent, the entire house they are in collapses
into a raging flame." - RR/PJ
American Dreams #3
Moira Tierney, 16mm, 2002, 5 min
"What happens when the smoke clears? One of the most remarkable sights was
the mass movement of people, on foot, along highways usually reserved for
motorized traffic. The Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, as well as the FDR
Drive, which runs along the East River from lower to upper Manhattan, became
human rivers with an unhurried but steady flow and no end in sight." - MT
Come Softly
Bobby Abate, video, 1999, 11 min
Part of the Real Video Trilogy
"Crafted from softly pixilated QuickTime, NetMeeting sessions, emotive
vintage pop, airplane disaster footage, online porn, streaming Hollywood
trailers, and the curious hypnotic qualities of taping off computer
monitors, Bobby Abate's internet-sex-n-death thrillogy explores new
anxieties made possible by technology, and the profoundly intimate places
that tiny images and lonely piano chords burrow deep within the soul. Real
Videos is like a tender and tumultuous visual virus, created to infect a
world where humans live through movies, die through malfunctions and, in
between, email their love." - Ed Halter
Rescue Parables
HalfLifers, video, 1994, 4 min
"Various scenarios are envisaged where a rescue might be possible. Props
include a hoist, a trolley, various doors and windows, ladders and a length
of hose. It is unclear whether our two heroes help or hinder one another.
What is sure is that no rescue is in sight.
One of four short tapes that make up The Rescue Series, a Halflifers project
that attempts to articulate deep-seated anxieties about the loss of
functionality or purpose through a series of spontaneous 'crisis
re-enactments.'" - Video Data Bank
Strange Weather
Peggy Ahwesh and Margie Strosser, video, 1993, 50 min
A quartet of crack addicts, absorbed by their life of pure sensation, are
holed up inside while the world outside is about to explode.
"Strange Weather is about a moment when the roar of the elements becomes an
imperceptible din and all belief is suspended. Jan, a paranoid, upper-class
pipe dreamer; Centipede, a sexually tepid rockhound; and Patty, strung-out
on fantasies of the good life, compromise a stuporous enclave, protecting
themselves against elemental moral decay from without. But storm warnings on
the tube augur a fearsome change. Shot in Pixelvision, Peggy Ahwesh's
tainted soap opera is by visual definition a small world. Minute details ­ a
smoldering cigarette, the grout between tiles, particles of kitty litter ­
are rendered large but with anemic resolution as though the characters'
surroundings have prominence but no meaning. In Strange Weather, Florida is
anything but a picture postcard." - Steve Seid
On 1/10/08 12:34 PM, "Dara G" <email suppressed> wrote:
> Hi again,
> THanks to all who responded to my last inquiry.
> I am teaching a class about film/video and the representation of
> disasters (specifically nuclear and environmental)
> I have lots of docs and hollywood features but feel that there must
> be more experimental work out there dealing with these themes.
> If anyone can recommend anything that would be great!
> Thanks
> Best, Dara
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.