Media Assassin: Works by Art Jones
The short videos on this program, concerned mostly with hip-hop and related cultural issues, are forceful and appealingly anarchic. Jones makes original and creative use of the medium: taping images off television or copying them so many times that they're flickery and fuzzy, he expresses the alienation of his subjects--often hip-hop musicians or DJs--from mainstream culture. We're used to seeing clear, bright colors on TV, but Jones brings us fugitive and marginal shadows. At the same time he mines the irregular vibrations and light patterns of such imagery for unpredictable rhythms that pulse with their own life and energy, often echoing the music he explores. Hidden History of Hip-Hop purports to trace the movement's rebellious origins to New York's Westchester County; pale and blurry footage of those burbs shot from a moving car makes them look so barren that the thesis seems almost plausible. In Media Assassin (1989) a narrator speaks of the "African people" being kept out of the American mainstream while an American flag bleeds with distorted, oversaturated colors. Though Jones's sympathies are usually clear, he rarely takes sides directly, choosing instead to stir together competing voices, images, and rhythms into a potent, multifaceted brew. On the same program: Knowledge Reigns Supreme (1991), Aka That Subliminal Kid (1995), Taste (1995), and other shorts. (The feature-length My Generation X, originally scheduled to close the show, will not be available.) Kino-Eye Cinema at Xoinx Tea Room, 2933 N. Lincoln, Friday, October 17, 7:00, 773-384-5533. --Fred Camper
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Media Asssassin still.