Documentary

Section



Art Documentary

Chris Sauter: The Whole World

November 4, 2011

Christopher Jobson

For his installation entitled “The Whole World”, artist Chris Sauter of San Antonio, Texas surgically extracted drywall components from the gallery walls and used the raw materials to construct a microscope and telescope. The kicker being that the footprints left by the removed pieces formed an amoeba-like slide and a starry sky. Sauter talks about his work and process in another fantastic documentary from
Walley Films (previously), who are quickly becoming my favorite art filmmakers of all time. Video stills above courtesy Walley Films.

 

 



Craft Documentary

Wonder Object: Playful Mechanized Objects by Gary Schott

November 3, 2011

Christopher Jobson

I was unexpectedly delighted by this documentary short on jeweler, artist, and metalsmith Gary Schott who creates these small kinetic sculptures that produce tiny, intimate gestures. The attention to detail in each piece is astounding, from the early detailed sketches and balsa wood models, to the selection of materials, and even the color of fabric—all to create a tiny device, the sole purpose of which is to gently evoke a smile, to express, in the words of the artist, an action of love. The wonderfully produced video was shot and edited by husband and wife filmmakers Mark and Angela Walley of Walley Films out of San Antonio, Texas. (via junk culture)

 

 



Documentary History Photography

Suitcases from the Willard Asylum for the Insane

October 31, 2011

Christopher Jobson

The Willard Asylum for the Insane was an institution in Willard, New York designed help people with chronic mental illness, and was in operation from 1910 through the 1960s before being closed by the state. In 1995 New York State Museum staff were given access to the secrets left behind decades before when the doors were shuttered. After an initial investigation they became aware of an entire attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building, the personal belongings of patients admitted to the asylum who supposedly never left. In an effort to archive and document the history of the institution photographer Jon Crispin has been given the rare opportunity to photograph the contents of each suitcase and has launched an extremely successful Kickstarter project to help fund the endeavor.

While I fully recognize the fascinating and historical nature of these very personal items, and applaud the museum staff and Crispin for their preservation work, I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness and unease for the circumstances under which these belongings became separated from their owners. To me they seem like the time capsules of lives arrested, their contents suggesting the hope of a continued life elsewhere: everyday objects for grooming, hobbies, fashion never to be used again. Eerie.

See more contents from the suitcases on Crispin’s blog.

 

 



Amazing Documentary

50 People, One Question: Chicago. What is your favorite memory?

September 19, 2011

Christopher Jobson

A great short film by social media firm Brand Nua where fifty Chicagoans are asked what their favorite memory is. Some wonderfully spontaneous answers from lots of people, and Nick’s mom Andrea is probably my new favorite person. (via gaper’s block)

 

 



Craft Documentary

Welcome to Planet Earth: The UFO Welcome Center

August 21, 2011

Christopher Jobson

After encountering aliens in the 1990s Jody Pendarvis of Bowman, South Carolina began construction on an enormous 30-foot spacecraft in the front yard of his home (this also coincided with his failed campaign for mayor of Bowman, but that’s another story). Lacking any formal plans or blueprints Pendarvis built the entire structure by hand and claims to dwell inside it several months each year, keeping vigilant watch for extraterrestrials through a portal in the roof called the Lookout Center. Documentary filmmaker Mikey Livingston captured this touching portrait of a rather bizarre man in his short film, Welcome to Planet Earth. (via vimeo)

 

 



Documentary Photography

One Day on Earth: A film shot in every country in the world on a single day

July 15, 2011

Christopher Jobson

This trailer is the first glimpse of One Day on Earth, an ambitious motion picture shot by thousands of filmmakers in every country in the world on a single day: October 10, 2010. The trailer alone includes footage from 90 individuals and organizations. The producer/director Kyle Ruddick is currently editing down 3,000 hours of film and is asking for help via Kickstarter to complete the project. I don’t know about you but it gave me chills.