The three videos that comprise Jesse McLean Videoworks: Volume 1 (The Eternal Quarter Inch, Somewhere only we know and The Burning Blue) all concern various facets of our complicated emotional and psychological relationships to spectacle.
In Les LeVeque Videoworks: Volume 3, Les LeVeque explores time and the way in which it can be manipulated to affect the communication of emotion. In the first video, pulse pharma phantasm, LeVeque collapses 9 different pharmaceutical commercials into one another to the point that they cease to communicate relaxation or relief and instead create a visual cacophony whose erratic pulsations become almost hallucinatory. LeVeque’s point is to problematize the systematization of appeals to consumers through the use of tropes for the communication of comfort and tranquility.
Formed in 1969 at the legendary Woodstock Music Festival by David Cort and Parry Teasdale, who met while taping the events with the newly available Portapak video equipment, the Videofreex (also known as "the Freex") were one of the very first video collectives. After working together to pitch a program to the major broadcasting station CBS, they toured the country interviewing counter-cultural figures of the day, including Fred Hampton, a leader of the Black Panther party, and Abbie Hoffman, so called leader of the Yippies.
In early 1969, inspired by the raw energy of their Woodstock tapes, a CBS television executive named Don West commissioned the nascent Videofreex collective to produce a new kind of TV program with "contemporary relevancy" to be aimed at the youth market. Armed with the latest portable video equipment, and with their travel costs funded by the TV company, the Freex travelled America taping the alternative cultural events and happenings that took place along the way.
The town of Lanesville, NY was home to the Videofreex for more than ten years, and their house was know as "Probably the World's Smallest TV Station." This overview details the regular activities of the collective and their work, and includes examples of productions they made for the Media Bus project. Russell Connor hosts the program and interviews various Media Bus members.
An homage to the death of the soap opera, The Evil Eyes is a 1960's era story of a grandmother faced with her mortality, a mother in mid-life crisis, and a son realizing his sexuality - a dysfunctional family whose unspoken angst manifests in the latest episode of their beloved supernatural soap opera, Before Dawn.
Magic for Beginners examines the mythologies found in fan culture, from longing to obsession to psychic connections. The need for such connections (whether real or imaginary) as well as the need for an emotional release that only fantasy can deliver is explored.
"Out of the blue, I bought my first television. I kept the TV on all the time."
"Jesse McLean’s 20-minute video Magic for Beginners is an intermittently gripping, psychedelic montage revolving around childhood obsessions with Leonardo DiCaprio and the video game Tron."
"This video reflects my interest in examining cultural institutions. In The Amarillo News Tapes, we were interested in observing and dissecting what makes news in a small, Midwestern television market. The video shows the three of us in our respective roles as anchor, weatherman, and sportscaster, interacting with the real Pro News Team on the set.
McGuire constructs a murky black and white soap-opera world of endless, timeless, and placeless limbo, where the characters talk to each other entirely in cliches, bad poetry, and other contrite forms of speech—a short TV show in which nothing is resolved. The video culminates in an absolutely stunning monologue performance by legendary underground film and videomaker George Kuchar.
Anthony Ramos' astute deconstruction of television news focuses on his part in the media coverage of President Jimmy Carter's 1977 declaration of amnesty for Vietnam draft evaders. Ramos, who had served an 18-month prison sentence for draft evasion, was interviewed by news reporter Gabe Pressman, whose film crew meets Ramos' video crew in a confrontation between technologies and sensibilities. At the time, some broadcast television news crews still used 16mm film, although the expensive transition to ENG (electronic news gathering) systems had begun in 1974.
“The syntactic structure and lateral movement of Arcade match its fairground equivalent. The work includes a series of images recycled from television and film, interspersed with location footage of Chicago El stations and punctuated with paintings created by Paschke on a computerized paint box.
The commodification of the American presidency is examined and lampooned in Presidents and Elections, a compilation of work from the Video Data Bank collection. Interweaving humorous, disquieting, and surreal videos with actual presidential campaign ads, the program highlights the evolving role of television as the driving force of electoral politics.
A video that observes the thrill, terror and boredom found in watching mass spectacles, and the unexpected loneliness when you miss them. This video speaks of both the power and the failure of the televised experience to bind us to one another.