Introduction by Jenny Perlin

This program features Irina Botea’s Auditions for a Revolution, her fascinating attempt at reenacting the 1989 Romanian Revolution, as well as T.R. Uthco and Ant Farm’s The Eternal Frame and Jenny Perlin’s Transcript.

Auditions for a Revolution
Irina Botea, USA, 2006, digital projection, 24m

Inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point and Andrei Ujică’s and Harun Farocki’s Videograms of a Revolution (excerpted here), Botea recruits students and staff at the Art Institute of Chicago to reenact the 1989 Romanian Revolution. Paying especially close attention to gesture, Botea instructs her extras from behind the camera on what slogans to shout and how to hold their fists. Some assume their roles more enthusiastically than others, yet all of the approximations are made clumsy by the language barrier, and by time. A fascinating document for anyone who’s ever wanted to play revolutionary.

The Eternal Frame
T.R. Uthco & Ant Farm, USA, 1975, digital projection, 23m

In 1975, the influential San Francisco “underground architecture” group Ant Farm teamed up with two members of the local multimedia collective T.R. Uthco, traveled to Dallas, and, studying the Zapruder film as a guide, restaged the Kennedy assassination at the site of the crime. This document of the performance, including the horrified gasps of passersby who don’t realize they’re watching a reenactment, is a classic of early video.

Jenny Perlin, USA, 2006, HDCAM, 11m

Jenny Perlin scavenged through an immense archive to find the material re-created in this mesmerizing short: a transcript of a 1953 recording made by a covert CIA operative at an Upper West Side dinner party whose hosts the agency suspected of having ties to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Paired with footage filmed in a contemporary apartment complex, the reenactment transforms into a trenchant critique of present-day government surveillance policies.