Video Mutants: Eight for 2008

Pub date January 23, 2008
SectionFilm FeaturesSectionFilm Review



Arcangel’s Super Mario Clouds (2002) uncovers the beauty of Nintendo clouds. Go to our Pixel Vision blog this week ( for an interview with Jacob Ciocci of Arcangel’s sometime collaborators Paper Rad and an interview with Arcangel that discusses his recent video and performance projects, such as The Bruce Springsteen Born to Run Glockenspiel Addendum.


Dünya dunlemiyor, the Istanbul, Turkey–set entry in Collins’s World Won’t Listen trilogy of Smiths karaoke videos, wowed those who saw it at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2006. The entire trilogy is now on display and garnering raves (including an Artforum essay that pinpoints the lustiness that breaks through even the most programmatic of Collins’s endeavors) at the Dallas Museum of Art. Here’s hoping we get to see it soon.


Based in San Francisco but often out in the world, Enid has a roving eye. She’s made comic horror short works (in 2005’s Lovelorn Domestic she’s a mute woman with a giant bird that pecks out her husband’s eyes) and more recently ventured into the realm of new age relaxation videos — 3-D ones, to boot. The results are as amazing as they are soothing.


One of San Francisco’s best underground talents, Enos has used videotape to craft a number of hand-drawn and hand-spliced animated shorts. Music biography is one recurrent subject: Enos’s trademark deadpan charm adds magic to illustrated and condensed life stories of Jim Morrison (complete with writhing snakes), Dennis Wilson (with a cameo by Charlie Manson), and Leonard Cohen. Look for a Guardian profile of Enos — as well as one of his frequent collaborator Enid — later this year.


Ryan Trecartin (see Super Ego) would never have star-wiped himself into art world stardom if not for the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink video aesthetic of Kuchar, who has made hundreds of videos since he and his brother Mike helped create underground film. Based in San Francisco and a teacher at the SF Art Institute, Kuchar has taught or influenced every local video person on this list, and his movies continue to be as funny as anyone’s in this issue, and only slightly less energetic than Trecartin’s (maybe a good thing).


She’s channeled Judy Garland — in 1997’s tears-and-laughs cabaret spree I Am Crazy and You’re Not Wrong — and survived. She stalker-serenaded Joe DiMaggio when the slugger was still alive and walking through the Marina (in 1991’s Joe Dimaggio, 1, 2, 3). In addition to these potent short performance works, she’s also unleashed some gargantuan formal projects, such as a pair of features — 1992’s Strain Andromeda and 2007’s Adventure Poseidon The — that rearrange Hollywood films from back to front, treating each shot like a card in a deck.


You haven’t lived until you’ve been berated about CD-ROMs, DVD menus, and coolness by the cranky-voiced animated character at the beginning of Paper Rad’s 2006 DVD Trash Talking (Load). Turns out that rant is just the preamble to a gloriously anarchic explosion of primary colors and pop-cult iconography that has prompted a thousand commercialized graphic design rip-offs, none of them one-millionth as inspired. Paper Rad recently made mashup lively again with the Umbrella Zombie Datamosh Mistake (now on YouTube). Go to their Web site — — for visual pleasure seizures and to get a taste of their new 20-minute video, Problem Solvers.

>>Watch Paper Rad’s “umbrella zombie datamosh mistake”


Wolf crosses into the realm of full-length features with Wild Combination, his subtly poignant documentary portrait of late musician Arthur Russell, which has been accepted at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. But his 2003 short video Smalltown Boys was a standout at a recent Internet-vid group show at SF Camerawork, and his Web site ( is a treasure trove of such clips, both found (he uncovers Ryan Phillippe’s time as the first gay teen on American soaps) and made by him (his 2004 Imitation of Imitation mimics the costume-jewelry waterfall from the credits of Douglas Sirk’s 1959 Imitation of Life).

>>Back to Video Mutants: The Guardian video art issue