REPORT, 1963-1967, 16mm, b&w/sound, 13min
Haunted by John F Kennedy’s assassination, Bruce Conner obsessively filmed television coverage of the shooting, funeral and aftermath. He repurposed the footage to explore the phenomenon of the news media as a means of processing the event. Comprised of two parts, the first addresses the assassination directly through radio broadcast recounting the frenzied aftermath of the gunshots. Brief television clips from the day are repeated, extended, and reordered, their familiar images becoming increasingly strange with each iteration. Intercut with alternating clear and black celluloid that accelerates to stroboscopic effect, the act concludes with audio confirmation of Kennedy’s death set to a recursive countdown.
The second part of REPORT, the epilogue, explores the media’s deification, commodification and obscuration of the president. Radio commentary of Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas plays against archival footage of him spliced with a multiplicity of symbolic appropriated scenes: a bullfight, Hollywood films, television advertisements, WWII battles. In sum, the film’s two acts tease the viewer by omitting footage of the actual shooting, foregrounding the power of the media to shape a national narrative. Compelling the viewer to unscramble its high-density plot, REPORT collapses the personal with the public.
Complimentary screenings will take place at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm.