PRINT December 2006


Barbara London


1 Tekkon kinkreet (Michael Arias; Studio 4ºC) In this feature-length anime, a raven ominously soars across Tokyo’s vast skies before diving down to saunter along the streets of a ramshackle old neighborhood, where good and evil mesmerizingly play out to the tune of progress.

2 The Road to Mount Weather (Cliff Evans; Location One, New York) With a pinch of Hieronymus Bosch and another of William S. Burroughs, Evans’s three-channel video installation brilliantly portrays twenty-first-century phobias in this up-to-the-minute version of purgatory.

3 Digital Video Effect: “Editions” (Seth Price) Sampling his own limited-edition media work, which is itself composed of snippets of images grabbed from the Web and from other artists’ videos, Price wittily questions the meaning of originality and collectibility in a “modestly” priced, roiling ten-minute video that should last through the ages.

4 8 BIT (Marcin Ramocki and Justin Strawhand) A first feature that is part rock­umentary, part art exposé, and part culture-critical investigation, 8 BIT cleverly ties together 1980s phenomena of the demo scene, chip-tune music, and artists using “machinima” and modified computer games.

5 The Music of Regret (Laurie Simmons) Derring-do by a veteran artist perhaps best known for her uncanny photographs of dolls, The Music of Regret brings Simmons’s characters to life in an unforgettable three-act minimusical.

6 No Snow on the Broken Bridge (Yang Fudong; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York) Hovering between classical Chinese brush-and-ink painting and Shanghai cinema of the ’20s, Fudong’s enveloping eight-screen landscape, populated by angst-ridden youth, springs eternal.

7 Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke) In the midst of breathtaking views of the Three Gorges—China’s natural wonder disappearing under the floodwaters of an epic dam project—Jia lets loose both artistically and emotionally, exploiting the larger-than-life “realness” of HD video.

8 The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry) Music-video master Gondry again captures the goofiness and innocence of love, through beguilingly homespun special effects.

9 Shan Pipe Band Learns the Star Spangled Banner (Bani Abidi; Singapore Biennale) In Abidi’s two-channel video, a Lahore, Pakistan–based brass pipe band tries—through agonizingly diligent practice—to master the American national anthem, which they play in a jarring final performance while dressed in wool tartan uniforms under a sweltering sun.

10 Remembering Arthur (Martin Lavut) Subject matter triumphs in this feature-length documentary on the brilliantly original Canadian experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett, who has long deserved recognition for his innovations.

Barbara London is associate curator in the department of media at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.