Writing, June 2016

Welcome to the Video! 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 Sid Branca, Sarah Quillin.


Sid Branca on Nocturnes for Anatomers by Christina Kolozsvary


In a soothing ASMR whisper, in the comforting baby talk of therapy, we are given this reminder: “Because any living thing—including the flesh of which you are made—resents neglect, it may retaliate with a message of its own.”

Our bodies are masters of code, of symbolic gesture. They write us poems to scrutinize in private rooms. Underneath some therapeutic gaze, you can be a girl again, forever newly horrified by the pink drip sliding out of you, forever wondering what happened to your voice, forever trying to decipher the texts composing themselves inside you. 

To wage war against the body is an impossible fight but one we are trained for early, one we are trained for often. The fingers pull out hair as a show of control. The body spools out hair in new locations as a show of control. The head floats out over the scene, a cool moon.

"Nocturnes for Anatomers” feels like an illustrated route or a guided meditation, navigating through the bodily dissociation that can come from all manner of psychological maneuvering. That construction “anatomer” brings to mind cartographic occupations—an astronomer turning their telescope inward to chart the body’s interior.

Sid Branca | sidbranca.com
 


Sarah Quillin on "remember / this / feeling" by Lyra Hill


(Click HERE to watch the other two installments of remmeber/this/feeling)

The artist is present and subtly demanding you be as well in Lyra Hill’s patient, mindful “remember / this / feeling.” A calming voice fit for a spaceship intercom joins glittering hands to slowly coax the viewer out of the ever-whirring motor of the modern mind and into one’s body and the present moment. While the piece was written for a large theater, I watched alone in an office and swore the only other audience member, a cinephilic philodendron, pointed back at me. Vocals and ambient background music peak in unison, dusting the piece with urgency—an eerie touch. This video is a discerning drill for audiences otherwise surgically attached to their cell phones.


Allie Shyer on “Local Ads for Far Away Places” by Kera MacKenzie Andrew Mausert-Mooney


Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney’s Local Ads for Far Away Places is about vision and perception as much as it is about familiarity. The scrolling pace also propels a dialogue about how we see and what we notice. If noticing can be thought of as a place, then that is where Local Ads for Far Away Places transpires; within the territory of heightened awareness.

The first scene to scroll through our field of vision shows flowers positioned behind window shades. With alluring visual trickery, the blinds silhouette and then reveal the flowers, but the impact of light and depth onto the image makes it more difficult to comprehend.

The video continues to play with flatness and depth with the introduction of different planes, across which mice scurry, oranges roll, and Meg Ryan’s hair grows longer as she peels fruit. The repetitions and coincidences that propel “Local Ads for Far Away Places” allow us into the space where we process information and translate visual symbols using a back stock of knowledge that ties it all together. The fast and appealing clash of coincidences is what makes “Local Ads for Far Away Places” exciting to watch.
As the music comes to a crescendo and the video draws to a close, we are propelled into another room with blinds, similar to those in the first scene. On the television, movie credits scroll for a film starring Meg Ryan and a cozy bearded man snoozes in the corner. It is clear that the room is familiar to the artist—as familiar as light through blinds in the afternoon or a Meg Ryan movie. It is this familiarity that allows us to be transported through the act of noticing and dissect the mundane through modes of visual storytelling.

 


Trevor Schmutz on “PORTRAIT OF A NUCLEAR FAMILY” by Drew Hanks & Eda Yorulmazoglu


Is this a nuclear family? Is this what a nuclear family ought to look like? In a sense, this family is entirely more attractive than the traditional concept. The family is plush, is fantasy.

There is a slow and steady unfurling of the family dynamic. Abuse and slapstick teeter throughout and it’s all somehow softer and less scary than watching an episode of “Leave it to Beaver.”

Mounting anxiety builds as the mother, father, and child perform for one another in charades of sorts, and all that's left is the festering need to know what role to play when, and for whom, and why.


Daniel Tovar on “I Am My Own Keeper” by Gertie Garbage


The viewer is immediately struck by the the brilliantly colored surfaces in Gertie Garbage's "I Am My Own Keeper." Multicolored flowers crown an attractive, sultry, bejeweled face. Her tears are the most brilliantly decorous part of the composition: painted, so to speak, with video. The video proceeds in a single frame with a single, repeated action: a woman slowly biting petals off a red rose. At first, the sensuality of the action only lends to the overall visual pleasure of the scene. But as time goes on, her biting falters. Her teeth do not immediately tear the individual petals, and we see the effort that must be put into the action. In her struggle, she forgets to keep up the sultry appearance. Remembering between petal picks, she makes a point of looking toward us, putting on her best face. This appearance of effort grates against the visually stunning surfaces. In contrast to the non-functional decoration, her mouth is by nature a tool, functional, suitable for breaking down material. As the action continues, and the rose gets barer, we are reminded that these appearances cannot be kept up. They will eventually break down, and what will be revealed is the functional organism that lies behind.

 


Interested in writing for Video! Video! Zine? Email VideoVideoZine@gmail.com