Writing, April 2016

This month, Video! Video! is debuting a new Video! Criticism section, with texts about our video submissions from real live writers. Read hot video words from real live writers here online for free! This month’s contributors include Sarah Quillin, Dakota Loesch, and Sid Branca.


Sarah Quillin on Pencil! Episode 1: Birth by Laura Callier

Like the thin, sensual mustache for which it was named, the pencil has been some unmentionable places. In her informative piece, “Pencil! Episode 1: Birth,” pencil scholar, advocate and tummy ache survivor Laura Callier shows babies where pencils come from. Callier’s subtle, discerning political references are laden throughout as she begets a carbon-based writing tool after getting her carb on inhaling bread and chugging a neon carbonated beverage. In a delicate yet hopeful metaphor for our thoughtless modern production chain, Callier’s short urges the viewer to consider the true price of consumption, asking furtive questions like, “Is development sustainable?” and “What will we have left when the pencil of life is sharpened down to a meager nub and there’s just the eraser left, like a sorry little pencil roach?” A sharp, mechanical piece that will leave a lasting smudge on the broken tip of your jaundiced psyche.

Sarah Quillin | fieldsmagazine.com
 


Sid Branca on Lemonade by M.J. Brotherton's

Our bodies, they tell me, are mostly fluid. Our lives, I assume from experience, are mostly the making of lemonade out of lemons. And I know that each thing that I could drink, or eat, or somehow put in or on myself, is sold to me through the use of a body, encased in pink plastic with a slick sheen and a pumping soundtrack.

M.J. Brotherton's "Lemonade" is like watching seven televisions at once, each gushing something bright into your eyes: music videos, commercials, pornos, rom-coms, true-life crime dramas with their victims' doll-like faces. I am buying the product, because I want to somehow be in all these flashing frames at once, stimulated by all this separate simultaneous action. I want to be the baby doll that cries real tears that taste like lemonade, and wear the pink heels that break my feet and smell like piss and sugar and lead paint.

To be alive is to constantly adjust levels of various liquids, to maintain their temperatures and volumes, to engage with the right drips in the right places, to carry your water in the appropriate ways. This video is full of ambiguous, inappropriate dripping. Everything is wet, everything is leaking out. The frame is a diaper and it has failed us, and so time and space briefly collapse, allowing so much to occur all at once. In the relative stillness after so much lush and rapid-fire movement, you can see the blood pumping in a heeled foot, a vein straining in the held pose. There is always more wetness that just won't stay still.

Sid Branca | SidBranca.com
 


Dakota Loesch on Untitled Thought by Chelsea Welch

My little brother sent me home with a quarter-ounce of free weed. It tastes like dryer sheets because of how some dumb-ass dealer decided to mask the smell while transporting it. Needless to say, I was high as hell when I watched “Untitled Thought” by Chelsea Welch for the first time. And though I eventually came down from being dryer-sheet-weed-stoned, that initial high I felt watching “Untitled Thought” never went away. The video is a head-buzz all its own. Totally hypnotic. Totally engrossing. Totally easy to get lost in and watch over and over again for that very reason. At one point, I got so close to the screen that I bumped my nose. It’s a surreal thing to be able to stand inside of someone’s house, someone’s head, someone’s idiosyncratic realizations about their life and their thoughts and how their mind works. It’s a strange and lovely gift to be allowed into that otherwise private world, staring out of someone else’s window as their personal epiphanies float up and away like a trail of smoke. Feels like some serious stoned voyeurism, whether or not you’re sober when you watch it.

Dakota Loesch

 


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