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Nick Hallett’s “Half Of The People” Election Videos: 10/13 In NYC

By Mike Everleth ⋅ October 10, 2008

If you want to get a proper perspective on the current presidential election and you live in NYC, curator Nick Hallett will walk you on a video trip down memory lane through the 2004 election on Oct. 13 at 8:00 p.m. at Brooklyn’s Monkey Town. To give you a taste of what wonders you’ll be in store for, I’ve embedded Aaron Valdez‘s awesome Big Screen Version above, which I watched about two thousand times when I worked at IFILM in 2004. Valdez is also part of the group Wreck and Salvage.

Hallett previously presented his collection of videos he calls “Half of the People Are Stoned and the Other Half Are Waiting for the Next Election” at Light Industry last July, but as the Obama/McCain smackdown enters its final days, this is the perfect time for an encore presentation. Plus, on this night following “Half of the People” will be the experimental documentary feature C Red Blue J, directed by Chris Sollars. And a portion of the proceeds will be donated in Sarah Palin’s name to Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Action Fund.

Here’s Hallett’s own description of the videos he’s screening, with the full lineup of videos beneath:

As the race to the White House consumes our nation’s collective attention, let’s take a look back to the 2004 election and celebrate the unique spirit of that year when the art world in New York and across the country took up the mantle of this country’s great activist tradition.

Many artists who make political work do so regardless of their calendars, but the high stakes of ’04 yielded contexts for agit-prop art and performance unseen since the late 1960s. Initiatives like Downtown for Democracy and the Imagine Festival united New York’s artist communities against the Bush administration as the RNC rolled into town. The Internet matured as a critical venue for countercultural action in attempts to revise standard models of protest. Audiences and critics, eager to experience their own distaste for the current state of affairs distilled into forms of art and entertainment, gave greater voice to explicitly political work. Guerrilla theater filled the streets at every opportunity for nose-thumbing, resulting in countless arrests, while cellphone cameras rolled to create a new kind of folk-documentary. Culture and politics collided in vivid and memorable fashion.

This collection of work from four years ago offers itself as something of a time capsule, although not enough time has passed for true nostalgia to set in. The 2008 election is playing itself out very differently than its predecessor. Without a concrete enemy to inspire rage, Americans–artists included–seem to be placing their faith in the system and its candidates. But how different is our country’s situation? Aren’t we even worse off than four years ago?

ASCII Bush, dir. Yoshi Sodeoka
I Need a Contingency Plan, dir. Taylor Mac
Campaign Spots, dir. Guy Richards Smit/John Pilson/Lou Fernandez
March for Women’s Lives, April 25 2004, dir. Pink Bloque/Blithe Riley/Dara Greenwald
Keanu Reeves for President, dir. Laura Parnes
Folk Music and Documentary, dir. Seth Price
2304 Is a Beer Drinking Year, dir. Jen Liu
KerryRocks.net, dir. Cory Arcangel/Jonah Peretti
The President of the United States, dir. James Tigger! Ferguson
Arnold’s Ass, dir. Laura Parnes
Big Screen Version, dir. Aaron Valdez
Play the Game, dir. Imaginary Company/Peter Glantz/Ben Jones
Fuck the Vote, dir. Carbon Defense League
See the Elephant! (excerpt), dir. Ryan Junell
(includes document of musical work Ringing for Healing by Pauline Oliveros)
Jamming: By the Waters of Babylon (excerpt), dir. Saul Levine
Listen (excerpt), dir. Aldo Tambellini
White Man, Suicide, video document of live performance shot by Punkcast/Joly MacFie
Vote for Bush or Burn in Hell, dir. Laura Parnes
TXTMob, dir. Institute for Applied Autonomy
A World With No Bush, dir. Julie Atlas Muz
Up Came Oil!, dir. The Yes Men/Patrick Lichty
Libber, dir. Wynne Greenwood


C Red Blue J, dir. Chris Sollars. The director tries to figure out why his family is so divided politically. His mom’s a lesbian, his dad’s Born Again, his sister campaigned for Bush in 2004 and Sollars himself is a political liberal.

For more info, please visit the Monkey Town website.

Monday, October 13 at 8pm
Monkey Town
58 N 3rd St.
Brooklyn, New York 11211
tickets $8 to $20 sliding scale benefit for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Minnesota and the Dakotas