Depression: What Is It Good For?

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | March 11, 2004

Thursday, March 11, 2004, 8:15pm

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This screening of shorts from the Video Data Bank investigates the thick blanket of experiences and social dynamics that share the rubric of depression – from invisible and privatized feelings to the collapse of the social safety net. In an era where drugs promise to manage all psychological ills and where myriad forces camouflage the social contradictions which exacerbate a kind of collective schizophrenia, perhaps it’s useful to look at how a diverse bunch of artists have mobilized bad feelings such as hopelessness, apathy, anxiety, fear, numbness, despair, and ambivalence to hold up a cracked mirror to our current state of insecurity and dread. These videos don’t promise any cures – but awareness is a kind of antidote. And there’s humor, too (or at least some mania). The program includes: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (2001, Paul Bush); Agoraphobia (2001, Sterling Ruby); El Diablo en la Piel (Devil in the Flesh) (1998, Ximena Cuevas); Getting Stronger Every Day (2001, Miranda July); Pulse Pharma Phantasm (2002, Les Leveque); Hey Bud (1987, Julie Zando); Rescue Parables (1994, HalfLifers); The Dutch Act (2001, Fred Pelon); Frozen War (2002, John Smith); Pony Changes Everything (2001, Ben Coonley). Curated by Mary Patten and Dara Greenwald.  Co-presented by Feeltank Chicago and Video Data Bank (Mary Patten). 1987—2002, various directors, Netherlands/Mexico/UK/USA, ca. 94 min, video.

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