Join us for a curated evening of Artist short films from around the globe. Based on this year’s festival theme REACT; NEoN has selected a series of films covering topics such as gender, environment and immigration.
Featuring work by BOM Fellow Emily Mulenga and other artists Georgie Roxby Smith, Jenny odell, Elaine Hoey, Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Shelley Lake, John Butler, Kevin B Lee, shawné michaelain holloway, Jennifer Chan, Shelly Lake and Greg Bath.
Full screening notes:
Max Almy, Perfect leader, (1983), 4 mins. 15 secs.
A satire of the political television spot, Perfect Leader shows that ideology is the product and power is the payoff. The process of political image making and the marketing of a candidate is revealed, as an omnipotent computer manufactures the perfect candidate, offering up three political types: Mr. Nice Guy, an evangelist, and an Orwellian Big Brother. Behind the candidates, symbols of political promises quickly degenerate into icons of oppression and nuclear war.
Greg Barth, Epic Fail, (2017), 5 mins. 32 secs.
Epic Fail is an avant-garde essay that questions what happens when political discourse fails to connect with voters, and truth is impacted by fake news. Based on the political events that shook 2016, the film imagines a reality that is both forged and blurred depending on how we perceive it; using existential currents inspired by Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea.
The result is a surreal political satire that revolves around a vote for world peace that has dramatic consequences.
John Butler, Xerox’s Paradox, (2018), 2 mins.
A new workwear collection for the age of intelligent supertasking. Xerox’s fear of a paperless office led to the GUI, which, in turn, led to an explosion in the amount of printed matter. Xerox’s Paradox is about technology’s broken promises. The more we automate, the harder we must work.
Jennifer Chan, *A Total Jizzfest*, (2012), 3 mins. 22 secs.
A sample of the richest, sexiest men in computer and internet history.
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, My Crush was a Superstar, (2017), 12 mins. 30 secs.
This desktop documentary follows an ISIS fighter through a trail of messages, videos and postings to uncover his existence in both social media and reality. Part of Bottled Songs, a series of video letters investigating desire, power and terrorism in online and social media. The videos, recorded from the researchers’ desktops, depict and interrogate their subjects’ compulsive engagement in the production of everyday myths and fictions about themselves and others.
Elaine Hoey, Animated Positions, (2019), 9 mins. 47 secs.
This work draws reference from 19th century European nationalist paintings and explores the role of art in the portrayal of jingoistic patriotic ideals that have become culturally symbolic in the formation of the nation state. This piece re-animates the war like stances and positions of bodies found within these paintings, using character animation taken from the video game Call of Duty. The work challenges notions of nostalgia for the nation state, creating a contemporary critique of the underlying violence that underpins much of todays nationalistic ideologies.
Shawné Michaelain Holloway, GEAR-REVIEW(1)__BEGINNERS-VEST.MP4, (2016), 1 min. 55 secs.
GEAR-REVIEW(1)__BEGINNERS-VEST.MP4 is a response to internet’s “Gear Review” video genre. Using a video sourced from Youtube’s preparedness community alongside a video of the artist performing live for her leather community, this work asks questions about the ways we get to know, use, and care for our objects. Whether them for war, for sex, or both, we’re obsessed with function and feature, forcing fetish into the realm of the domestic and accessible.
Shelley Lake, Polly Gone, (1988), 3 min. 9 secs.
A day in the life of a robot.
Kevin B. Lee, The Spokesman, (2018), 12 mins. 30 secs.
The Spokesman investigates the online traces of John Cantlie, a British news reporter who was kidnapped in 2012 and later appeared in several Islamic State propaganda videos. Responding to Cantlie’s videos, Kevin analyzes Cantlie’s British accent and professional composure, constructed over many years of media appearances. Part of Bottled Songs, a series of video letters investigating desire, power and terrorism in online and social media. The videos, recorded from the researchers’ desktops, depict and interrogate their subjects’ compulsive engagement in the production of everyday myths and fictions about themselves and others.
Emily Mulenga, Now that we know the world is ending soon…what are you gonna wear?, (2019), 4 mins. 5 secs
Religious imagery and symbols of capitalist excess intertwine under the ever-watchful eye of CCTV cameras. Loneliness occurs even in the most crowded, noisy and colourful of rooms. Fractured identities span the online and offline worlds. Late-stage capitalism has left us with a disconnect from others and from a spiritual centre, and consumerism purports to fill the void; but never truly satisfies. There’s a condition of perpetual information overload in an oversaturated, neon, dystopian cityscape. There’s also a rabbit.
Jenny Odell, Polly Returns, (2017), 3 mins. 2 secs.
Polly Returns is based on Shelley Lake’s 1988 computer animation, Polly Gone, which features an isolated female robot doing everyday tasks inside a futuristic dome house. In my version, the robot has returned in 2017. The soundtrack is inspired by the original from Polly Gone, which itself was based on the soundtrack from The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Georgie Roxby Smith, Lara Croft Domestic Goddess I & II, (2013), 2 mins. 14 secs.
Georgie Roxby Smith’s hacked Lara Croft Tomb Raider video game shows the familiar icon for violent femme fatale bad-assery in the throes of orgasmic housekeeping, a scene that could be read as neo-Friedan, with her “domestic goddess” subject trapped between the banally physical and the extraordinarily virtual. The value judgments are unclear, the equation destabilized, as Croft joyfully irons shirts with a bow and arrow slung over her back, letting out cries that are undiscernibly battle grunts or orgiastic moans.