New editing project — Witness: South Sudan

The episode of the docu-series Witness that I edited will premiere on HBO on Nov. 19th. It profiles the photographer Veronique de Viguerie.  It was directed and produced by David Frankham, and produced by Michael Mann.

The four-part series premiers on Monday, November 5th. For more information on HBO Documentary Films, visit http://itsh.bo/I83ODm.

The Flattering Illusion

‘An eminent philosopher among my friends, who can dignify even your ugly furniture by lifting it into the serene light of science, has shown me this pregnant little fact. Your pier-glass or extensive surface of polished steel made to be rubbed by a housemaid, will be minutely and multitudinously scratched in all directions; but place now against it a lighted candle as a centre of illumination, and lo! the scratches will seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round that little sun. It is demonstrable that the scratches are going everywhere impartially and it is only your candle which produces the flattering illusion of a concentric arrangement, its light falling with an exclusive optical selection. These things are a parable’. 

George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 27.


YX is an allegory about cities, bodies, fluid media, privation and loss, in which hermetic spaces create hermetic narratives. Shot in 2007 in Chicago with performances by Evan Scott Rubin and Jeff Harms, production assistance by Sam Wagster, Britt Willey, Matthew Kellard, Chris Vlasses and Lizzy Lynette Vlasses.  Music by Vaughan Williams and Paysage d'hiver.

You can also view the full page with stills here.

Work In Progress: yx

In 2007 I shot ten scenes for a feature length project called The Upper Air, but I was dissapointed with the results and scrapped the project.  I've decided to re-edit the scenes into a short entitled yx, which will hopefully be finished next month.  The themes and concept are very much the same as the original project: the privitization of resources and of bodies, the translation of hermetic spaces into hermetic narratives, allegories of ecologies in crisis.  The new title comes from Stéphane Mallarmé's poem, Sonnet en -yx.  The video has performances by Jeff Harms and Evan Rubin, and Sam Wagster was an immense help in the production.  Below are some stills from the edit in progress.


As you can most likely tell, I have caved in and generated this pre-fab website using Squarepace, a "customizable" website hosting service.  After losing a laptop last year with all of the files for my previous site, I have now decided that I should abandon my dreams for internet autonomy and self-sustainablity for the safety and simplicity of an online WYSIWYG template based website. 

I find it sad that as the capabilities of browsers, codes and personal computers are developed and expanded the consumer web-design programs and services available become outmoded and prohibitively over-complicated to compete with the rich-media experiences that can be bought with effect packages, design firms, and streaming content providers.  At PETA, my place of work, we are shifting our video players to the current Flash video server systems, and it amazes me how complicated and difficult it is, even for a large, established and savvy organization.  The individual stands little chance, unless they want to make web-design their profession and spend hundreds of hours learning every interation of Actionscript, HTML, Java, CSS, etc. that trickles down the development ladder.

Don't get me wrong — I'm very glad that this particular service (Squarespace) exists.  They have taken some pains to provide options that are otherwise unavailable to the self-publisher at a reasonable cost (like embedding video and an admirably versatile design interface) but the overall feeling from moving from my tediously and laboriously hand-made and hand-updated HTML and Flash site to this is depressing.  As a microcosm of my generation, web 2.0 has reproduced the real-estate market's shift from ownership to rental. 

Alas, I must maintain a storefront, a facade, an archive of my toils outside of commerce and industry.  So enjoy, look around, and forgive the suspiciously familiar proportions, structures, and the faint smell of formica.