4min 40sec | DV | 2014 | Audio
Pain-body: From the philosophy of best-selling author and spiritualist Eckhart Tolle, a pain-body is the collective manifestation of all the pain, misery, and sorrow a person has ever gone through their entire life, and all the things they inherited from their culture and family history as well.
Panoptic: Including everything visible in one view. A term based on the architectural design by social reformer Jeremy Bentham. The panopticon placed a single observation tower in the center of a circular building whose outer walls were lined with cells allowing for maximum observation and control.
Hulk: The Hulk is a large green humanoid that possesses superhuman strength and powers of invulnerability. He is the alter ego of Bruce Banner, a withdrawn and emotionally reserved physicist who physically transforms into the Hulk under emotional stress.
video & music: written, recorded, edited and performed by Tommy Becker 2014
5min 30sec | DV | 2013 | Audio
The lemon, often-utilized by famed still life painters was rarely the focus of a composition. More typically, this citrus was being abused for its compositional qualities. Its ovoid form of highly saturated yellow was used to balance the more dominant piling of apples, oranges and pears. The lemon, I felt, never got its day in the sun
That was until I came across Manet’s, “The Lemon”. A rather small oil painting completed in 1880 that puts the tiny fruit on center stage. It sits alone on a platter, its alien-like being taking up the bulk of space and its drab, neutral surrounding accentuating its radiant glow.
After my encounter with Manet’s masterpiece, I began bringing lemons into class for my students to admire and paint. I discovered that many of my students had never tasted pure lemon. We talked about the color, the scent and heavy weight flavor of this tiny citrus. Their paintings surrounded the fruit in a vast white space and a solar system of floating yellow forms evolved.
This video is my tribute to the lemon. A piece of fruit with a long, diluted history. An innocent little orb of sourness, often used to describe broken down cars or flavor dead fish. I hope this video can bring some much-deserved recognition to this tiny fruit.
video & music written, performed, recorded and edited by Tommy Becker 2013. A huge THANKS! to all those who participated and inspired.
9min | DV | 2013 | Audio
This work is about the death of color in contemporary art and my attempts as a teacher to connect young artists with its power. The video pays tribute to three modern artists, Picasso, Rothko and van Gough, each of whom is renowned for engaging a particular hue during their lives.
Pablo Picasso spent four years in a predominantly blue palate after his good friend Carlos Casagemas shot himself at Paris café. Mark Rothko, who took his life at the age of sixty-six, struggled to tame the color red throughout many of his most famous works including, “Four Darks in Red”. Vincent van Gough became infatuated with the color yellow while surrounded by its prominence in the landscape of Arles, France. It was here that Vincent completed some of his most famous works including his depictions of sunflowers.
"The paintings of the Impressionists, constructed with pure colors, proved to the next generation that these colors, while they might be used to describe objects or the phenomena of nature, contain within them, independently of the objects that they serve to express, the power to affect the feelings of those who look at them" - Henri Matisse
Video: shot & edited by Tommy Becker | Words & Music: written, recorded & performed by Tommy Becker | Public Domain footage collected from Prelinger Archives
"pulling down the sky to give you the sun"
1min 50sec | DV | 2005
After piecing together a yellow outfit from second hand stores, the simple act of jumping is turned into a performed act of giving as a figure struggles to transform himself into the sun.
video & music - written, recorded, performed and edited by T.Becker | 2005
5min 40sec | DV | 2012 | Audio
A short video featuring Ralph, a recently divorced man and his robotic invention, Bobby XP1. In this mini-drama, curiosity puts Bobby alone on the streets. After failing to connect with neighbors, he returns home to the melancholy serenade of his creator and one true friend.
video & music - written, recorded, performed and edited by T.Becker | 2012 | illustrations found
3min 40sec | DV | 2012
In “song for Elliott Jacques”, the seemingly invulnerable Superman has been crippled with over-sized monster hands. His psyche struggles to come to grips with this sudden shift of identity. After failing to go back in time by reversing the rotation of the earth, he surrenders to his situation. Track Fourteen of, TAPE NUMBER ONE, is dedicated to psychologist Elliott Jaques who coined the term “midlife crisis” in his 1965 article "Death and the Midlife Crisis”.
Jaques, a psychoanalyst, was initially interested in examining the notion of the midlife crisis as it related to creative genius after discovering that an alarming number of highly creative minds; Mozart, Raphael, Chopin, Rimbaud, Purcell, and Baudelaire encountered tragic deaths between the ages of 35 and 39.
It is only through crisis that self-realization can occur. It is only through crisis that we begin to uncover truth and strengthen our relationships to our authentic selves. Crisis brings with it the destruction of self while opening the door for us to once again be lost, not know, declare individualism and transcend.
video and music; written, recorded & performed by Tommy Becker, 2012.
“We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them.”
- T.S. Eliot
2min 35sec | DV | 2010
This short video poem is dedicated to the fleeting relationships which so often percolate through contemporary life. Song for Hellos and Goodbyes leads viewers through the birth and death of a romantic relationship using the cliché lines of purchased gift cards. Within the script, a second voice emerges to reveal a more authentic picture as the relationship blossoms, sours and disappears.
video & music: written, recorded, performed and edited by Tommy Becker | 2010 | text compiled from a variety of gift cards at the local grocery
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” ~ Chief Seattle
2min 10sec | DV | 2003
Track Number Two is a celebration of the wild. It's a war chant heard bellowing from the mouths of animals as they march, fly and slither down the streets in protest. Images of the untamable flash across the screen as a stream of consciousness unfolds. A recited mantra drives the pack to the beating of tribal drums. Titled after one of his paintings, "song for the fate of animals" is dedicated to Franz Marc.
Written, recorded, performed and edited by t.becker | 2003 | public domain footage - prelinger archives | appropriated images - google search
“Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.” - J.K. Rowlings
2min 35sec | DV | 2008
It's a natural response for teenagers to question and react against their cultural conditioning. Song for Disobedient Youth is an exhortation to embrace unfettered joy and chaos before the agonies of adulthood set in. It invites the viewer to momentarily indulge in the fantasy of youthful rebellion, self-discovery, recklessness, love, disregard, dream and contempt that continues to escape us as we are pulled further into the constructs of age and culture.
Written, recorded and edited by T.Becker | 2008 still images - thank you students | public domain footage from Prelinger Archives
6min 30sec | DV | 2011 | Audio
In the summer of 2011, I became obsessed with snow angel videos on YouTube. The documented gestures highlighted a pure form of art making that was truly in the moment. Whether they were a couple, family members or friends in swimsuits, the interaction between filmmaker and performer was always a celebration. The short videos captured the artist's gusto as they surrendered to the snow and their enthusiasm as they jumped out of frame to view their masterpiece. This is my tribute to three of my favorite snow angel videos. Thanks to all those who took time to share their moments.
video & music: written, recorded, performed and edited by t.becker | 2011 | public domain footage - prelinger archive, appropriated footage - YouTube
In flat sunset light
down the city street
3min | DV | 2008
Tack Number Five is an intermission and a meditation on impermanence. It's late afternoon when I begin my journey through the neighborhood. Attaching a cherry blossom branch to the grill of my car, I pull into my first driveway and stop. The bouncing branch casts a long shadow upon the colored doors. Gently, it comes to rest. The car is put in reverse. The gesture is repeated.
video: recorded, performed and edited by t.becker | 2008
4min 40sec | DV | 2011
A search for fulfillment through the collecting of metaphysical experiences leads viewers into a desensitized world where an isolated individual finds solace in his peculiar obsessions, private possessions and favorite television programs. In the video short, “Song for the Collectors”, images of tragic environmental disasters and sensational web videos blend with bits of iconic pop imagery to tell the story of a collector who has lost touch with reality in pursuit of collectible memorabilia connected to grand and catastrophic environmental events.
“Song for the Collectors” begins with a voice narrating instructions for encapsulating the flow of environmental energies inside of colored containers. Video of a drifting balloon and cropped still images from Warhol’s Marilyn, help to illustrate the instructions. As the video continues, the narrator begins recalling personal adventures associated with his collecting. Historic volcanic eruptions and devastating hurricanes become destinations for his obsessions as the thrill of collecting triumphs over the tragedy at hand.
The videos insertion of a single image from Warhol’s “Green Car Crash”, a painting depicting an overturned car in flames with the driver's catapulted body impaled on a post, might best sum up the conundrum of the collector where the reality of what is being collected falls victim to the individual's drive to posses and profit. What are we chasing, missing, overlooking or insensitive to in pursuit of personal fulfillment? Has the daily repetition of death and destruction in the media truly numbed us to the tragedy of our situation? Are the frequencies and severity of disasters truly being recognized or has the tragic simply become better television?
video & music: written, recorded, performed and edited by t.becker | backing vocals - Erin Becker | 2011 | public domain footage - prelinger archives
“Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.” - Eckhart Tolle
3min | DV | 2002
In Song for Attachment, we encounter a surreal, lo-fi presentation of the popularized Buddhist teaching of surrender. In a stark room, a young man struggles to overcome his anxieties of confinement with an eyeless rabbit. Failing to befriend the bunny, he turns inward in hopes of shifting perspective. The serene landscape painting on the wall fails to provide escape and we are left with a recited mantra as the rabbit towers above us.
video: written, recorded and edited by TBecker | 2002
“Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them, but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.” - Simone Weil
1min 50sec | DV | 2002
The bird feeder invites them. I try to minimize my proximity by moving my chair a few inches at a time before turning into a statue. In the end, they detect my presence and not knowing my motives, they flutter away until I've reached a safe distance. I want to know their world, but that will never happen. Thank goodness. The mystery keeps me marveling.
Written, recorded, performed and edited by T.Becker | 2002 | found film footage - prelinger archives
“All things come out of the One and the One out of all things.” - Heraclitus, 500BC
3min 40sec | DV | 2004
Track Number Nine is a celebration of the unknown. It's an embrace of the often obscured unity presented to us by the twisting opposites continually untangling in our fragile lives.
video & music: written, recorded, performed and edited by T.Becker | 2004 | found film footage - prelinger archives
“Man staggers through life yapped at by his reason, pulled and shoved by his appetites, whispered to by fears, beckoned by hopes. Small wonder that what he craves most is self-forgetting.” - Eric Hoffer
2min 20sec | DV | 2009
Song for the Brief Seconds pays witness to an overwhelming need to escape. The paths for departure seem endless. The desire or need to place our consciousness elsewhere seems a necessity for our survival. The future is sure to open more exits with even more alluring dens of existence. At some point, we may never return.
video & music: written, recorded, performed and edited by T.Becker
“Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart. ” - Washington Irving
2min | DV | 2003
video: written, recorded, performed and edited by T.Becker | 2003 | found film footage - Prelinger Archives /still images - Google
“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.” - Napoleon Bonaparte
2min | DV | 2001
video & music: written, recorded, performed and edited by T.Becker | 2001 | found film footage - prelinger archives
2min 20sec | DV | 2005
video & muisc: written, recorded, performed and edited by t.becker | 2005 | crowd footage - prelinger archives