Video Data Bank at the Ann Arbor Film Festival 2016


This month, Video Data Bank continues its longstanding support of the Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF). The 54th edition of the festival runs March 15th through March 20th, 2016, and VDB Development and Marketing Manager Ruth Hodgins will be in attendance from March 18th. This year’s festival includes many new titles from VDB artists: Rosa BarbaStephanie BarberJem CohenKevin Jerome EversonKent LambertDani LeventhalBen Russell, and Deborah Stratman. In addition, a selection of major works from our historic collection will be featured in special programs.

Featured in Juror Presentation: Carl Bogner                                   Thursday, March 17th, 1 pm, Michigan Theatre (Screening Room)

Steve Reinke 
Anal Masturbation and Object Loss (2002)


Reinke envisions an art institute where you don’t have to make anything, and with a library full of books glued together.

“I think what will make my new school better than the old ones – well, maybe not better, but more precise – is that we will limit the type of discourse allowed….”
– Steve Reinke

Yvonne Rainer 
Hand Movie (1966)


Hand Movie is part of the compilation Five Easy
featuring early short works made between 1966 to 1969. Hand Movie is a close-up of a hand raised from a hospital bed, the fingers of which enact a sensuous dance. Camerawork by William Davis.


Juror Presentation: Rebecca Baron
Friday March 18th, 1 pm, Michigan Theater (Screening Room)

The 54th AAFF welcomes VDB artist Rebecca Baron to the Jury and features a selection of her titles in a special screening on Friday March 18thRebecca Baron is known for her essay films concerned with the construction of history. She has a particular interest in media archeology and the ways photographs and moving images create meaning and hold historiographic knowledge.


Clockwise from top left: okay bye-bye, The Idea of North, Lossless #3, Detour de Force

okay bye-bye (1998)                                                                                 In okay bye-bye, so named for what Cambodian children shouted to the U.S. ambassador in 1975 as he took the last helicopter out of Phnom Phenh in advance of the Khmer Rouge, Rebecca Baron explores the relationship of history to memory.

The Idea of North (1995)                                                                           In the guise of chronicling the final moments of three polar explorers marooned on an ice floe a century ago, Baron’s film investigates the limitations of images and other forms of record as a means of knowing the past and the paradoxical interplay of film time, historical time, real time and the fixed moment of the photograph.

Lossless #3 (2008) Rebecca BaronDouglas Goodwin                       Removing keyframes from a digital version of John Ford’s The Searchers, Baron and Goodwin attack the film’s temporal structuring to render a kinetic “painted desert” of the West.

Detour de Force (2014)                                                                         Detour de Force presents the world of thoughtographer Ted Serios, a charismatic Chicago bell hop who, in the mid-1960’s produced hundreds of Polaroid images from his mind.

VDB TV presents: American Psycho(drama): Sigmund Freud vs. Henry Ford (2016 Redux)



Curated by Nelson Henricks

As part of Video Data Bank’s ongoing commitment to the presentation of groundbreaking moving image art, VDB TV presents this free online program of performance-oriented videos from the late 1990s, which map a trajectory between consumer society and psychoanalytic confession. Curator Nelson Henricks reflects, “These interventions – distillations of music videos, commercials and infomercials sampled from a reservoir of neglected or useless images – offer moments of resistance.”

Emphatically low-tech and subtly comedic, the works use mass-produced phenomena as a springboard for social critique. HalfLifers (Torsten Z. Burns and Anthony Discenza) act out panicked rescue missions using everyday objects. Emily Breer and Joe Gibbons’ The Phony Trilogy, and Gibbons’ solo Barbie series, target pop culture icons through delusional monologues. Anne McGuire mimics popular television genres, interrupting the comfortable flow of power within them. Animal Charm (Rich Bott and Jim Fetterley) use found footage derived from a wide variety of sources to scramble media codes, creating a kind of tic-ridden, convulsive babble. The work of these artists can be set into orbit around three points: performance, television, and madness.

The original 1999 compilation American Psycho(drama): Sigmund Freud vs. Henry Ford is available for rental and purchase here.

Accompanying the program is an eponymous essay by curator Nelson Henricks, a Montréal-based musician, writer, and artist:

VDB TV presents: American Psycho(drama): Sigmund Freud vs. Henry Ford (2016 Redux)“What I feel is significant is that each of the artists performs a kind of madness for the camera, a madness catalyzed through an encounter with mass-produced/multiple objects…. What did we have to be anxious about at the end of the 1990s? The eradication of nature? The failure of the body? Global economic collapse? The millennium? Or simply the simple fear of losing our individuality… of becoming isolated from political agency, the fear of being powerless as an individual in a society where the only viable mode of expression left is to consume.” Read more.

VDB TV is a rotating series of groundbreaking programs presenting essential video art, streaming free for the first time to the general public on the Video Data Bank website.  It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.