Film/Video Critique: Image Employment

Aily Nash and Andrew Norman Wilson

Tuesdays, 7:30 pm  9:30 pm

Course description:

Image Employment explores the moving image as a tool to investigate various means of contemporary production, labor, and employment. The course considers a broad range of practices from documentary filmmaking, video art, and motion graphics. Students examine the formal and conceptual qualities of film and video and learn how contemporary artists are exploring today’s modes of production. The class will consist of short screenings, discussions of readings, and critiques of student work, which can take the form of research, text, a film or video, a presentation etc.

In class screenings will present recent work by artists such as Hito Steyerl, Harun Farocki, Ryan Trecartin, Mark Leckey, Michael Bell Smith, Sharon Lockhart, Kevin Jerome Everson, Ben Rivers, Lucy Raven, and others that illustrate differing approaches to the subject, from observational films that avoid participation in capitalistic image creation, to videos that engage corporate omnipotence by employing its processes, as well as works that complicate these two tendencies. Texts by writers including Bruno Latour, Sven Lutticken, Hito Steyerl, Boltanski & Chiapello, Diedrich Diedrichson, will be explored and discussed. This course is an ambitious program of ideas, techniques, and self-directed exploration.

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Week 1 - February 4 - Image Employment Introduction - ANW

Course Introduction and Lecture: Image Employment curatorial project introduction

Week 2 - February 11 - Workers Leaving …

The subject of labor, often left at the fringes of film history, are addressed through meditations on the movement of workers leaving factories.      

Screenings:         Workers Leaving the Factory by The Lumiere Brothers (1895)

Workers Leaving the Factory by Harun Farocki (1995)

Workers Leaving the Googleplex by Andrew Norman Wilson (2011)

Workers Leaving the Job Site by Kevin Jerome Everson (2013)                                                      

Readings:        Workers Leaving the Factory text by Harun Farocki (required)

Critique:        Two presentations (Rachel M Pincus + Davis Thompson-Moss)

Week 3 - February 18 - Dream Factory: Prosumption

Considering the various modes of examining new forms of labor, the works in the Dream Factory sections recapitulate corporate imagery and language as both a critique and recognition of the omnipotence of these systems, explicitly engaging dream factory capitalism.

Dream Factory - Prosumption includes videos that explore the agency of objects in relation to consumers, exaggerated uses of prosumer editing and motion graphics tools, and consumption-as-production.

Screenings:         De-Employed by Michael Bell Smith

Green Screen Refrigerator by Mark Leckey

Strike and Strike II by Hito Steyerl

Readings:          CREATIVE 2 PROFESSIONAL by Michael Bell Smith (required)

Chrome & Flesh: An Interview with Mark Leckey by Kari Rittenbach

(suggested)

                BREATHTAKING Design Strategy by The Arnell Group (suggested)

Critique:        Two presentations (Greg Ruben + Emerson Rosenthal)

Guest:                 Michael Bell Smith

Week 4 - February 25 - Dream Factory: Sites of Labor

Dream Factory - Sites of Labor considers the space of labor through interventions into sites of emergent industries and globalized consumption.

Screenings:   A New Product by Harun Farocki

                             The Trainee by Pilvi Takala

                Stealing Beauty by Guy Ben-Ner

Readings:          “The Test of the Artistic Critique” chapter from the The New Spirit of Capitalism

by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello (required)

The New Way of the World (Part 1 and Part 2) by Pierre Dardot and Christian

Laval (suggested)

Critique:        Two presentations (Jaqueline Mabey)

Week 5 - March 4 - Long Takes

Everson and Lockhart’s works employ the long take in different ways, both reflecting and distorting temporal qualities of the working day. Raven and Lockhart’s works explore still photography and interval as alternative modes of experiencing labor.

Screenings:   Quality Control by Kevin Jerome Everson (2011) (excerpts)

Lunch Break by Sharon Lockhart (2008) (excerpts)        

China Town by Lucy Raven (2009) (excerpts)

Readings:          Transforming Time by Sven Lutticken (required)

                James Benning interviews Sharon Lockhart (suggested)

Critique:        Two presentations (Kim Junsung + Shobun Baile)

Week 6 - March 11 - The Object of Labor

The works in this program give equal primacy, if not more, to the materials of industrial labor as the workers who perform that labor.

Screenings:         Sack Barrow by Ben Rivers

                The Unstable Object by Dan Eisenberg (excerpts)

Reading:            “Third Source of Uncertainty: Objects too Have Agency” (63-86)  “First

Move: Localizing the Global” (173-190) from Reassembling the

Social by Bruno Latour

Critique:        Two presentations (Rose Cromwell + Kim Junsung)

Week 7 - March 18 - Movement of Capital       

This program traces the movement of materials, bodies, and machines to suggest invisible processes-- information flows, finance, and feeling.   

Screenings:        The Financial Crisis by Superflex, (2009)

Open Outcry by Ben Thorp Brown (2013)

Unsupported Transit by Zachary Formwalt (2011)

Arbeit by Duncan Campbell (2011)

Reading:            Inside Abstraction by Sven Lutticken

                Supplemental: Towards the Space of the General: On Labor beyond Materiality and Immateriality by Keti Chukhrov

Critique:        Two presentations (Patrick Mohundro + )

Week 8 - March 25 - Spring Break

Week 9 - April 1 - Dream Factory: Lifestyle, Consumption, and Production   

Dream Factory - Lifestyle, Consumption, and Production looks at reverent appropriations of advertising imagery, the aesthetics and visual language of globalized "lifestyles," and performative and farcical rhetoric.

Screenings:        K-CoreaINC.K (section a) by Ryan Trecartin (2009)

People's passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water by Neil Beloufa (2011)

Readings:        People of intensity, People of Power: The Nietzsche Economy by Deidrich

Diederichsen

Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real

Subsumption by Steven Shaviro

Ryan’s Web 1.0  A Lossles Fall by Ryan Trecartin

Critique:        Two presentations (Erin Grant + Daniel Wilson)

Week 10 - April 8 - Artist Businesses

Artist Businesses considers artists whose work emerges from direct engagements with contemporary modes of production and consumption. Brad Troemel will present his BSTJ etsy project and discuss his sale of art objects through Etsy. Andrew Norman Wilson will present an investor meeting for his startup Stock Fantasy Ventures.

Presentation:        BSTJ by Brad Troemel

Stock Fantasy Ventures by Andrew Norman Wilson

Readings:        Mass Effect by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter

                K-Hole Issue #3 - The K-Hole Brand Anxiety Matrix

Guest:         Brad Troemel

Vote:                Vote for activity on wild card day

Critique:        Two presentations

Week 11 - April 15 - Dream Factory: Commercial Work

DIS' Watermarked Kenzo Fall 2012, arose out of a paid commission for Kenzo's seasonal menswear collection. It takes the form of a video lookbook, and while it serves that purpose for Kenzo, the work reflexively dramatizes the commercial advertisement form through the absurd excesses of the actors' expressions, the politically correct racial composition, and a stock media infused aesthetic. This piece not only emulates commercial visual language, it is a commercial.

Screenings:        "Watermarked" Kenzo mens Fall/Winter 2012 by DIS

Readings        select DIS articles

Guest:                Dora Budor discussing her contribution to DISown

Critique:        Two presentations (David Riley)

Week 12 - April 22 - Computer Chess

We will watch Computer Chess by Andrew Bujalski

Week 13 - April 29 - Labor in a Single Shot

Everyone shoot an image of labor in a single shot and bring it in.

Week 14 - May 6 - Found Footage

Everyone bring in video clips, commercials, images that relate to labor, consumption, branding and any other themes and formal approaches covered in the class.

Week 15 - May 13 - Open Final Presentations

The final session will reflect on the works and readings covered in the class, by inviting participants to present their own ideas that they’ve generated over the course. Presentations can range from a short talk, sharing moving image work, texts or artworks that they’ve discovered that adds or relates to the topics that have been covered.

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List of Readings

-Workers Leaving the Factory by Harun Farocki

-Chrome & Flesh: An Interview with Mark Leckey by Kari Rittenbach

-BREATHTAKING Design Strategy by The Arnell Group        

-CREATIVE 2 PROFESSIONAL by Michael Bell Smith

-“The Test of the Artistic Critique” chapter from the The New Spirit of Capitalism by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello

-The New Way of the World by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval

-Transforming Time by Sven Lutticken

-James Benning interviews Sharon Lockhart

-“Third Source of Uncertainty: Objects too Have Agency” (63-86)  “First Move: Localizing the Global” (173-190) from Reassembling the Social by Bruno Latour

-Mass Effect by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter

-K-Hole Issue #3 - The K-Hole Brand Anxiety Matrix by K-Hole

-People of intensity, People of Power: The Nietzsche Economy by Deidrich Diederichsen

-Accelerationist Aesthetics: Necessary Inefficiency in Times of Real Subsumption by Steven Shaviro

-Ryan’s Web 1.0  A Lossles Fall by Ryan Trecartin

-Inside Abstraction by Sven Lutticken

-Towards the Space of the General: On Labor beyond Materiality and Immateriality by Keti Chukhrov