Fade Out: New Video, Part Two

This is one of the strongest video programs I’ve ever seen; almost all the works present lush, sensuous imagery within a coherent structure that expresses the theme. The two best are also brilliantly disturbing. Gregg Biermann’s The Hobgoblin of Little Minds (1999) mixes abstract imagery and representational photography to create powerful visual disruptions, the pieces seeming to spin away from each other. By returning to certain images–often banal ones such as a store sign–he suggests a mind haunted by trauma. Marcello Mercado’s The Warm Place (1998), partly a reflection on Argentina’s bloody “Dirty War,” creates a horrible yet rich weave of hotly colored images (human dismemberment, frames within the frame, unsettling text fragments), each part seeming to infect the others. Several other videos are simpler but emotionally affecting nonetheless. Neil Goldberg’s creepy My Parents Read Dreams I’ve Had About Them (1998) is a single long take of his parents in which, offscreen, he hands them pages to read, trapping them in his psychic life. Each of Pierre Yves Clouin’s four witty homoerotic pieces explores a single concept: in Kangaroo (1998), fingers seem to emerge from, rather than enter, an anus. And in the sad, self-deprecating Fade Out (1998), Tony Buba prints texts over a single high-angle shot of Braddock, Pennsylvania, describing his absurdly arbitrary ways of calculating the length of the video or deciding when he should stop taking LSD. On the same program, works by Alfred Guzzetti and Michael Gitlin. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, Friday, February 25, 7:00, 773-293-1447.

–Fred Camper