VIDEOS AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL:
Click on image to watch 3-minute sample of video.
Being (1973; 00:08:00):
an excerpted segment from a film, Other Than Art's Sake by the
Australian artist Peter Kennedy, this is a hilarious documentation and
interview by Peter on my Mythic Being street performances. It shows me
getting into and out of drag, rehearsing my mantra, and roaming the streets
muttering it, followed by crowds of curious onlookers who are attracted
by Peter's film equipment and technicians.
Other Than Art's Sake also includes work by and interviews with Ian Breakwell, Judy Chicago and Arlene Raven, Hans Haacke, David Medalla, Charles Simonds, and Stephen Willats. For more information, contact Peter Kennedy/ 48 Little Walker Lane, Clifton Hill/ Melbourne, Victoria, 3068/ Australia; telephone +61-3- 9481-0829 from 7:30 AM to 11 PM Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Funk Lessons (1983; 00:15:17): a videotape piece based on an audience-interactive performance of Funk Lessons at the University of California, Berkeley that goes considerably beyond the performance. Both performance and tape address the ambiguous status of African-American working class music and dance as serious contributors to American art and culture. In the performance I teach my audience how to listen to this music and how to dance to it. There's a lot of audience response in this tape, which is humorous and also moving. Edited and directed by Sam Samore, produced by Tom Oden. For a more recent, international approach to the same material, I highly recommend the stately but endearing Finnish/German/ Russian treatment at http://folk.uio.no/tsandvik/fun/learn_disco.mpg
My Calling (Card) #1 Meta-Performance (1987-88; 00:58:00): documentary footage edited together from two audience-participatory meta-performances, the first with an all-white audience, the second with a mixed but predominantly black audience. I call them meta-performances because in them I invite a larger audience into self-reflective participatory critique of a one-on-one interpersonal performance for which I present documentation. In this case, the one-on-one performance was of My Calling (Card) #1. The first meta-performance, at the Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago in 1987, took that performance as the object of critique. The second meta-performance, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, took the Randolph Street Gallery meta-performance as the object of critique. In that performance I suggest that whoever watches the tape edited from these two meta-performances will be participating in a third level of self-conscious meta-performance, taking the combined tape itself as the object of critique. The level of audience engagement in both venues was very high and the discussion quite heated. Interesting dynamics developed between black and white participants in the Studio Museum venue.
Funk Lessons Meta-Performance (1987; 00:42:00): a re-edited documentary of a meta-performance at the Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago that discusses the motivational, cultural and situational origins of Funk Lessons, and analyzes the structure of the performance. Dialogue with the all-white audience is extensive, very intense and occasionally humorous.
I am deeply indebted to Peter Kennedy, Sam Samore, Tom Oden, The Randolph Street Gallery, and The Studio Museum in Harlem for capturing some of my early performance work on videotape at a time when I did not have the resources to do so myself.
Please, God (1990; 00:61:00 endless loop): a durational, three-part endless loop videotape combining footage of a group of eight- or nine-year-old black girls joyfully dancing for the camera in front of a window, a repeating text that moves slowly across the top of the screen and expresses apprehension about the treatment they will encounter as adults, and a music soundtrack consisting in three repeating Billie Holiday songs, "God Bless the Child," "Stormy Blues," and "Strange Fruit."
Art Talk: Xenophobia and the Indexical Present (1993; 01:22:00): a talk about my art work from 1968 to 1988 at Seminole Community College in Florida. I try to show, through discussion of my own work, how art can function in resisting or transforming the xenophobic response that is cognitively inherent in everyone. This talk ends rather suddenly, but contains a lot of jokes. It may be of interest to institutions in the United States at which I have had to decline invitations to speak, because of my status as a Suspicious Traveler on the U. S. Transportation Security Administration’s Watch List.
You/Stop/Watch: A Shiva Japam (August 2002; 00:42:26): A real-time endurance piece about endurance. Formally referencing the CNN talking head + multiple texts video format, this work is structured by the yogic practice of japam, the continued repetition of a mantra that restructures the neurological pathways of the brain in preparation for the experience of death. This japam is dedicated to Shiva, the outsider, the dancer, the yogic ascetic, the destroyer of illusion and so finally the messenger of truth. The soundtrack is Raga Malkaus, played by Prof. Roy Choudhury (Nataraj Music, Düsseldorf).
Shiva Dances with the Art Institute of Chicago (October 2004; 01:43:18): Structured by a Fall 2003 lecture at the Art Institute of Chicago that transformed into a spontaneous and moving group performance, I situate Funk Lessons first in the evolving tradition of recent mainstream films that highlight the teaching of popular dance as a medium of self-transcendence and cross-cultural contact; and second within the broader philosophical context of The Color Wheel Series, which this video completes.
Imitation of Life (1934) Passing Beyond Passing (November 2004; 01:38:27. Lecture/Screening/Discussion): Why is America’s caste system so intractable? It is because of the deep connection between racial stereotyping and gluttony in the United States. The video combines six film clips from forgotten Hollywood movies that engage the issue of passing, with a video documentation of my video installation Cornered (1988), and a lecture excerpted from my manuscript in progress, Recognition and Responsibility: The Presence of the Past in Germany, Australia and the United States, that was delivered and discussed with the audience at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin in November 2004. This video premieres at the IHME Contemporary Art Festival, Helsinki in April 2014, during the IHME Days. It presents my considered analysis of American racism, and documents the last time I intend to speak publicly about it.
Unite (2005; 00:39:00. Part I of the PacMan Trilogy; video wall projection. Video animation by Colin Holgate of Funnygarbage): This anti-pack-mentality deprogrammer, schematizes my extensive empirical experience with packs – white packs, black packs, gray packs, male packs, female packs, straight packs, gay packs, ethnic packs, religious packs, art packs, philosophy packs, professional packs, social packs, institutional packs, outsider packs – over the last five decades. It models the idealized, limiting case in which the number of originating members of the pack is finite and stipulated, and therefore can diminish progressively to zero. In reality, new recruits to the pack are continually being procreated (see Merge, 1988), programmed and inducted, as unsuitable members are rooted out; thus continually replenishing pack membership in an unlimited series that extends indefinitely into both past and future.
The Spurious Life-Death Distinction (2006; 00:45:00. Part II of the PacMan Trilogy; video wall projection. Video animation by Colin Holgate of Funnygarbage): The life-death distinction depends on outdated assumptions about the nature of consciousness as equivalent to sentience. This is implausible. Speculative theoretical physics and Vedanta concur in equating consciousness with energy. Since energy obeys the law of the conservation of energy, consciousness is conserved throughout the cycle of growth and decay, expansion and contraction, order and entropy, life and “death”. Consciousness does not die; it merely undergoes transformation of form. Only the ego dies, if you’re lucky, and a good thing, too.
Bait-and-Switch (2008; 00:04:48 endless loop. Part III of the PacMan Trilogy; video wall projection. Video animation by Dave Redl, DVD production by Colin Holgate of Funnygarbage): A research technique for measuring a subject’s dependence on or addiction to an artifact, substance, behavior, person, relationship, group, institution, belief, expectation, goal, hope, dream, or fantasy. (1) A quantity of the object large enough to stimulate pleasure but small enough to stimulate a desire for more is administered; (2) this quantity of the object is displayed as an enticement to hunt for more; (3) the object is withdrawn and the persistence of the subject’s hunting behavior in its absence is measured. The classic Behaviorist experiment using this technique is B. F. Skinner’s “superstitious pigeon.” Here it is schematized as a continuously recycling two-person minuet.
Everything #19.2 (2007; 00:04:45 endless loop): In September 2007, less than 14 months before the election of Barack Obama as the first American President of African descent, a 20-year-old African American woman was kidnapped, raped and tortured for a week by six European Americans that included one mother-daughter pair and one mother-son pair. Beyond the two original two-minute CNN reports on which this video is based, the incident received and continues to receive no coverage in the mainstream American media. The video appropriately alters the original reports to fit the circumstances.
Philosophy Talk: Intellectual Intuition in Kant’s first Critique and Samkhya Philosophy (2007; 01:20:33. Kunstverein Hildesheim): Why does Kant think intellectual intuition is impossible for human beings, and why are the philosophies of Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta so sure that it is? The answer lies in the contrasting conceptions of the self, objectivity, and methods of rational inquiry which each of these two perspectives ultimately presuppose. The Samkhyan conception recognizes our capacity for intellectual intuition, and so offers an account of the creative process involved in Conceptual art. Main lecture in English; short introduction and 20-minute discussion in German.
Philosophy Interview: Telling Time – Adrian Piper Interview by Lynn Tjernan Lukkas (2007; 1:35:20. Unedited interview from Lukkas’ film essay, Telling Time; used by permission [for further information about Telling Time, please visit www.lynnlukkas.com]): Topics covered include the problems time presents for metaphysics and ethics; Kant’s analysis of time; the validity of the Critique of Pure Reason for contemporary science; criteria of adequacy for a theory of time in cognitive psychology and the natural sciences; the experience of time in meditation, art and yoga; creativity and time-disturbance; how time make science an ethical enterprise; the ontology of present, past and future time; the significance of time-based art media; alternative states of consciousness and the role of reason; the resources of Vedic philosophy for the West. With German subtitles.
OPEN ACCESS. Adrian Piper Interview: Rationality and the Structure of the Self by Robert Del Principe (2007-2010; 00:61:43). Thirty-four years in the making, Rationality and the Structure of the Self was finally accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press after more than thirty referees had refused to read it. The first edition of both volumes appeared here as two open-access e-books in May 2008. Robert Del Principe asks candid questions, both pertinent and impertinent, about their history, content and implications. With German subtitles. Click on image to watch entire video.
OPEN ACCESS. Second Wave Feminism: Unfinished Business (2014; 01:49:41. Lecture/Discussion). Talk delivered to the National Academy of Art, Oslo, to commemorate the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage in Norway. I reflect critically on the progress – and lack of it – on women’s rights since then, with particular attention to the failure of second wave feminism to address two interconnected foundational problems that obstruct its progress: first, the persistence of internecine multi-level competition among women; and second, the coerced ritual conditioning of men. I offer some suggestions as to how these problems might be solved. The second half of the video consists in a very worthwhile audience discussion inflected by continuing local debate about the meaning of the mass murders and bombings in Norway in 2011. Click on image to watch entire video.