MDOCS Forum - Surveillance Shorts Screening

Saturday, June 9, 2018
4:45 PM - 5:45 PM (ET)
Tang Teaching Museum Somers
Event Type

Archival footage from Attica, animation re-enactments of F.B.I. surveillance, drone fiction, and a filmic peeping tom. This multi-textured short film program thinks about how the documentary camera describes and enacts surveillance.

Windows at Night by Luciano Piazza (2013) HD Video, 16min.

This meditative film can be understood as a visual essay on the mass phenomenon of loneliness,or, alternatively, as no more than the life of neighbors moving through their natural urban habitat: apartments. It explores the cinematic qualities of the city’s windows, seeing them as small screens from which a performance, both intimate and public, is woven into a modular narrative. The protagonists of these images are acting under their own direction, possibly oblivious to the fact that there is another director recording them. Windows by Night was recorded in its entirety from windows found in Buenos Aires, New York, Caracas, Chicago, London and Rome.

The F.B.I Blew Up My Ice Skates by Sara Zia Ebrahimi and Lindsey Martin (2016) Animation, 7min.

Based on a true story, the film tells a story from the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1980 from the perspective of Haleh, an eight year old who just wants to enjoy her ice skates. The film raises questions about the human cost of surveillance and the criminalization of immigrant communities, linking past policy decisions with current national discussions around security and xenophobia.

Evidence of the Evidence by Alexander Johnston (2018) Archival Video, 22min.

The 1971 Attica prison uprising is a signature moment of radical resistance in the American Civil Rights movement. The subsequent retaking of the prison, however, is an open wound and “the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War,” according to the findings of the investigating New York State Special Commission. Evidence of the Evidence explores this tortured history through a granular interrogation of its archival materials. Utilizing never before seen video recordings shot by a police trooper during the four-day uprising, the film offers a visceral ground level account of the events at Attica. It also chronicles the concurrent mediation and narrativization of these events. Through a “close reading” of the footage, and merging agit-prop and media criticism, the film reflects on the myriad roles that moving images play in the production of history and memory, its creation and its destruction.

Find Fix Finish by Sylvain Cruiziat & Mila Zhluktenko (2017) Drone Video, 19min.

Find Fix Finish delves into the accounts of three military drone pilots as they tell the intimate story of the lives they observe on a day-to-day basis. The voyeuristic ocular perspective from a military drone can reduce people to pixels on a screen and a certain decontextualisation is almost necessary to deal with the fact that people can be killed on a push of a button. “Have you ever stepped on an anthill and not given it a second thought?”.

This event is part of the MDOCS Forum - a series of public events combining festival presentations of artistic work with symposium-style conversations around an annual theme. The symposium is free and open to the public.

This year, we will engage with the theme Surveil/Surveilled in documentary and analyze documentary as a form of surveillance, consider the ethics and legalities of observing and the vulnerability of being observed, learn how to protect from surveillance, and engage with the documentary material that surveillance systems yield to explore its storytelling and truth telling potentials. 

For a full list of MDOCS Forum events click HERE

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