By Annie Holub
Arizona Summer Wildcat
June 17, 1998

Releasing the TENSION


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

"It Is A Crime," a short film by Meena Nanji, uses footage from British and Hollywood films and excerpts from a poem by Shanti Mootoo to explore oppression of post-colonial societies. Part of a free presentation, VideoFUTURES: The New McLennium, tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering auditorium.

Arizona Summer Wildcat

Watching TV or movies these days is like going to the grocery store and purchasing a prepared cart of food, without making any selections of your choice. And all of the food manufacturers are owned by the same company, so you get YummyStuff» cheese slices and YummyStuff» bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches, which you eat with YummyStuff» potato chips and YummyStuff» cola.

"Disney owns ABC and several film companies, so whose ideas are really put out there?" pointed out Vikki Dempsey, the creator and director of VideoTENSIONS, a summer-long series of experimental and independent media presentations put on by the UA Department of Media Arts, the College of Fine Arts, the Office of Summer Session and a whole slew of other university affiliated and non-university affiliated supporters of progressive media.

For the past seven years, VideoTENSIONS has been infiltrating Tucson with the alter-egos of the mainstream media. Every Thursday through August 13, a free presentation of social, political and experimental video takes place in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building, room 202. Each presentation has some sort of overhead theme; this week's focuses on the question of whether new advances in media communication will break down existing societal power structures, or end up strengthening them. VideoFUTURES: The New McLennium, will be presented by Mindy Faber, the associate director of the Video Data Bank in Chicago, which is a distributor of independent video.

"Access to independent media is not that easy," said Dempsey, "So we try to put together a show of independent media for people not only interested in the subject matter, but in the form."

Some of the videos on the schedule for this Thursday include: "Manifestoon" by Jesse Drew, which juxtaposes Karl Marx and Fredrich Engles' "The Communist Manifesto" to classic animation- it's that is-Disney-taking-over-the-world? thing again- and "Suicide Box," a documentary made by the Bureau of Inverse Technology, a private information agency, which documented on video anything that fell from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in order to get an accurate suicide rate. Faber will also present Video-A-Skew, a series of videos where the artists tell their stories by using unconventional performance and video techniques, at 8 p.m. at the Screening Room, 127 E. Congress, on Friday, for $4.

Next Thursday, July 2, is VideoQUEER, and the Thursday after that, July 16, is VideoMEXICO, featuring the work of visiting artist Jose Diaz Infante from Mexico City. The series ends on August 13 with VideoLOCAL, a screening of locally produced work. (Entries are still being accepted for this presentation. The deadline is July 24, and for more information and requirements, call the Media Arts department at 621-7352.)

"(VideoTENSIONS) is essentially things you don't normally see on TV because of the control of the media by one source," Dempsey said. "It's really an alternative to TV, an alternative to movie theaters-not meaning there's anything wrong with that, but there's gotta be more...."

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