Still from Culture of Domination (1983), Mike Dunford
These four works, made over five decades but clustered around three west coast U.S. cities - Oakland, Los Angeles and San Francisco - are all based around interviews with local citizens. They diverge, however, in how they try to account for the ways in which these voices have been marginalised or ignored by mainstream media.
Alex Abramovich and Lucy Raven have recently completed Portraits From The Occupation (2012), a series of 16 video interviews with people involved in Occupy Oakland. Their project is an attempt to capture the complexity of the Occupy Oakland movement, and to allow a different and less coherent picture to emerge than the one we may be familiar with. (We've only included one of the videos, but you can watch all of them at the Oakland Standard website.)
Redmond Entwistle studied at CalArts in Los Angeles and his graduation film Social Visions (2000) is a meditation on those citizens of L.A. who are excluded from its power structures, as well as the impossibility of reconciling the divergent aspects of the city into a seamless filmic whole. (Redmond currently has a show at Cubitt in London of his new work Walk-Through, which takes Michael Asher's famous 'post-studio' programme at CalArts in Los Angeles as a starting point for thinking about broader questions of pedagogy and the fragile democracy of a group situation.)
Mike Dunford was an early member of the London Filmmakers Coop who became increasingly politicised during the 1970s and then, in the early 1980s, made several videos in the U.S. which addressed social issues, whilst simultaneously offering a self-reflexive critique of media conventions. Culture of Domination (1983) is ostensibly a documentary about unemployment in San Francisco, beginning with a striking series of street interviews, but then takes a different tack via a dramatised fishing expedition and a lavish cocktail party.
Sean (1969) by Ralph Arlyck, which was shown at Seventeen Gallery last year, is an extraordinary interview with a four year old boy, the son of Arlyck's hippy upstairs neighbours where he lived in the Haight Ashbury neighbourhood of San Francisco. Through Sean's ingenuous words, the film offers a disorienting new perspective on the heavily-mediated history of hippy San Francisco.
Videos in this exhibition /