Four Films on Memory and Place

Nov 15, 2019, 08:00 PM Blaffer Art Museum Free Buy Tickets

The Blaffer Art Museum and Houston Cinema Arts Festival present a one-night film program inspired by the exhibition Gareth Long: Kidnappers Foil on view through March 14, 2020. The screening features film and video works that explore relationships between mass media, image circulation, social memory, and place, honing in on Houston, Miami, and the Persian Gulf Region. Like the exhibition Kidnappers Foil, the screening program examines the mediation of local histories, following the ways in which non- professional subjects are mediatized and the cultural effects and repetitive nature of pop culture phenomena.

Unwrapping "Reality Bites" on VHS

An obsessive, repetitive gesture: hands turning, picking, and pulling the shrink-wrap off of a VHS copy of the 1994 Gen X hallmark Reality Bites against a plain blue screen backdrop. Over the course of this ten- minute undressing, the artist mimics the excitement of teenage fandom, reciting in cool detail the film’s plotline, character types, cast, and current market value of the outmoded VHS. It’s clear, this VHS is more than the object a teen’s pop-culture fetish and fascination. Rather, the unopened Reality Bites VHS represents, for the narrator, a line to be crossed. The transgressive act is the narrator making plans to unwrap and watch the film – an act that will alter the value of the object as a still sealed, original, unblemished, and authentic copy to a tampered with, used, and ultimately not collectable VHS edition.

Country, Year United States, 2015
DirectorEileen Maxson
LanguageEnglish
Runtime10 MINS, 25 SECS
GenreExperimental, Short
SubjectExperimental
Event TypeCompilation, Free Event

Dancing in the Absence of Pain

Dancing in the Absence of Pain is comprised of home videos shot by the artist’s grandfather, Franklin Pigatt. Following Pigatt’s passing in 2018, artist Terence Price II edited some of this footage, capturing decades of social and family history as seen by his grandfather. Squarely within the genre of home video,
Price’s film documents everyday family life, highlighting relationships between moments of familial joy
and love and broader cultural histories that exist outside the bounds of the domestic sphere and that
inform the social bonds that create community.

Country, Year United States, 2018
DirectorTerence Price II
LanguageEnglish
Runtime25 MINS, SECS
GenreExperimental, Short
SubjectExperimental
Event TypeCompilation, Free Event

The Craft

Using childish speculations as a lens onto longstanding geopolitical dramas, The Craft draws on Monira al
Qadiri’s upbringing in Kuwait in the late 1980s and early 1990s to ask: “Were my parents conspiring with
aliens behind my back?” Employing childish drawings and home video footage, the artist unpacks this
central question to probe soft power structures and consider the science fictive qualities of oil futures,
war, and waning empires.

Country, Year United States, 2018
DirectorMonira Al Qadiri
LanguageEnglish
Runtime16 MINS, SECS
GenreExperimental, Short
SubjectExperimental
Event TypeCompilation, Free Event

Energy Country

In Deborah Statman’s Energy Country, images of the frenzied detritus of trading floors, smart weaponry,
and the religious right are woven together with scenes depicting the petrochemical landscapes of
Southeast Texas. The film interrogates how land use policy serves the global oil and energy industry and
highlights ideological linkages between nationalism, foreign aggression, and fundamentalism.

Country, Year United States, 2003
DirectorDeborah Stratman
Runtime14 MINS, 30 SECS
SubjectExperimental
Event TypeCompilation, Free Event
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