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Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area

Sunday, February 6, 2011
5:30 p.m. Versions of Veracity: Video, the 1980s

Jeanne C. Finley, Dale Hoyt, and Doug Hall in Person

Though wildly varied in form, these videoworks each concern an encounter with veracity, implicitly asking, “How do you represent truth in a medium that favors illusion?” We begin with Lynn Hershman’s Confessions of a Chameleon in which the artist shares intimate but highly suspect stories about her past. To cover her tracks, Hershman unswervingly declares, “I always tell the truth.” In Chip Lord’s Abscam (Framed), the artist insinuates himself into broadcast footage of the eponymous scandal, revealing the malleability of evidence. Jeanne C. Finley’s Common Mistakes illustrates grievous cultural errors with naive educational films, making wrongdoing seem like institutionalized misstep. A collage of performance, cultural appropriation, and layered narrative, Tony Labat’s Mayami: Between Cut and Action injects sly autobiography into a mire of deceptive pronouncements. Dale Hoyt serves up several actresses in the starring role for The Complete Anne Frank. No single Anne can contain the whole in his hothouse melodrama of desire, escape, and claustrophobia. Potent and plainspoken, Doug Hall’s This is the Truth says it all. Or does it?

Confessions of a Chameleon (Lynn Hershman, 1986, 10 mins, Color, Video, From the artist). Abscam (Framed) (Chip Lord, 1981, 11 mins, Color, Video, From Video Data Bank). Common Mistakes (Jeanne C. Finley, 1986, 13 mins, Color, Video, From Video Data Bank). Mayami: Between Cut and Action (Tony Labat, 1986, 13:54 mins, Color, Video, From Electronic Arts Intermix). The Complete Anne Frank (Dale Hoyt, 1985, 36 mins, Color, Video, PFA Collection). This is the Truth (Doug Hall, 1982, 3:30 mins, Color, Video, From Electronic Arts Intermix).

—Steve Seid

• Total running time: 88 mins