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Kevin Jerome Everson 2012
USA | Format: 35mm | color | sound | 7:30 minutes

Two General Motors’ automobiles meeting their fate or discovering new forms. Filmed in Ontario, Canada.

With a sense of place and historical research, my films combine scripted and documentary elements with rich elements of formalism. The subject matter is the gestures or tasks caused by certain conditions in the lives of working class African Americans and other people of African descent. The conditions are usually physical, social-economic circumstances or weather. Instead of standard realism, I favor a strategy that abstracts everyday actions and statements into theatrical gestures, in which archival footage is re- edited or re-staged, real people perform fictional scenarios based on their own lives and historical observations intermesh with contemporary narratives.

The new work still embraces the similar condition but I am increasingly interested in interrupting documentary scenes with abstract, formal scenes, those situations where necessity collides with coincidence. The coincidence is the scene that looks as if it was culled from archival footage, an accident or mistake in the actual film material, while necessity is the plot or character that drives the film. I am pleased when these qualities collide in terms of form, because it plays with this ambivalent relationship between art and narrative, fact and fiction. Eventually, I trust that by working in this manner, years from now, I will see my work as achieving pure form.

What is important to note in the submitted film samples is the imperative for the work to project and reveal the materials, procedure and process. This approach comes form my undergraduate art instruction and influences. My professors, educated at Iowa University and Yale in the 1970s, taught from this standpoint during my 80’s college years. It was a post-Smithson approach. I believe that this approach is not necessarily important to be noticeable to the viewer; it merely explains how I continue to approach the craft of art making. I firmly believe that the materials (film, video) of the work must be noticeable. A light flare, over-exposed film, color flares, distorted sounds and even prolonged taping enhance my notion of materiality. Procedure is the formal quality I am exploring with the work. The process is the execution of the formal quality. Once I have a grasp of procedure, the process becomes a discipline. Recently I have been making films with single eleven-minute takes, the real-time exposure of a 400’ roll of 16mm film. The materials are the 16mm film and camera. The procedure is that everything has to be framed within a limited time structure. The process is filming everything with that eleven-minute time structure in mind.—K.J.E.

Screening as part of the program Atlas Minus…

Venue: Francesca Beale Theater

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