Chop and Screw: Found Footage

Since they emerged as a locus of artistic discourse, techniques of recycling, collage and appropriation have allowed artists to parody, critique and revise culture in a directly political way, playing with the very stuff and texture of social reality. From Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades to Hannah Höch’s collages to the practice of sampling in hip-hop, cut-up and re-contextualization in art has led to essential questions of “What is art?” and “What should art be doing?” In the time-based medium of film, this meant the ability to repeat, refocus, and draw out the machinations of a mass culture—beginning with Joseph Cornell’s meditation on star-obsession (Rose Hobart, 1936), and growing into an indispensable tool of cultural mediation, a snorkel for a world drowned in throwaway images.

In this program, we present three recent found-footage film—stories constructed by the artist, appropriated from archives—that confront the traditional notion of ‘document’, with the director’s imagination in cutting and pasting together the source material creating a completely new piece of art, leaping ahead of the realm of the filmed reality. Here are fever dreams, twisted out of reality, more real than any careful reportage, crazier than any intentional story.