Autistic Development | Chicago Reader

Autistic Development

These videos, which either comment on other works or borrow from earlier forms of filmmaking, support the often-argued thesis that experimental film is in a derivative, even decadent phase. Only one piece rises above the mediocre: Dara Greenwald's Bouncing in the Corner #36DDD (1999) is a takeoff on Bruce Nauman's early video work that replaces his repetitive movements with a large-breasted woman slamming herself into the corner of a room, the bouncing of her breasts providing a sexy alternative to Nauman's formalism. Les LeVeque's 2 Spellbound (1999) is yet another reworking of a Hitchcock film. Though the flickering pace is lively and LeVeque's doublings—the same character appears on either side of the screen, flipped left to right—relate at least superficially to Hitchcock's psychoanalytic theme, there's no particular artistry in evidence. The idea that slow motion reveals more is far from new, and there's nothing special about the street meeting Alvin Tsang slows down in A Minute With the Elders (1999). The Video Aktivists' Untitled #29.95 is a sub-Godardian affair with text, voice-over, and pictures but none of Godard's subtlety. Its protest against current attempts to market video as limited-edition high art (“video was meant to be a democratic medium”) could have been articulated better in journalistic prose. Stom Sogo's Guided by Voices takes the technique of the 60s flicker film, meant to sensitize the viewer to his perceptions and the nature of the medium, and turns it into a mindless assault of light and techno music. And for A Man and His Pants, Chris Tenzis refilms backward and forward a man's failed attempt to put on his pants; it's an amusing parody of Martin Arnold, but Arnold himself is a highly derivative filmmaker whose facile social commentary arguably narrows the far more profound refilming investigations of Ken Jacobs and Ernie Gehr.

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