“Passing Periods” - Reflections Through a Classroom Window | Reel for Program | 6min of 75min | video, music & text: written, recorded, performed & edited by Tommy Becker, 2015
“Passing Periods”- Reflections Through a Classroom Window, is an expanded cinema performance that explores and celebrates the dynamics of the high school landscape and complexities of relations inside and outside the classroom. Within the program, the role of color in art history, the vitality of lemons as educational inquiry and the ebb and flow of our interpersonal lives is viewed through PowerPoint and celebrated in song.
This 60minute performance revolves around eight music-based essays that combine live vocals with projected video and pre-recorded sound. Specific vocabulary and content related to the essays are introduced through short PowerPoint presentations that add an artistic dimension of learning to the program.
Audience participation is encouraged through trivial PowerPoint facts, their determination of the playlist order and their ability to physically encounter particular objects revealed in the work.
“Passing Periods” - Reflections Through a Classroom Window | 1hr program | video list
Song for the Lemons | 5min 30sec | DV | 2013 (Intro - 01:30min) http://www.tommybecker.com/#/lemons/
The lemon, often utilized by famed still life painters was rarely the focus of a composition. More typically, this citrus was 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. This video is a surrealist lesson and grand tribute to the lemon, a piece of fruit with a long, diluted history. An innocent little orb of sourness, often used to describe failing cars or flavor dead fish.
Song for the Pain-body | 4min 40sec | DV | 2014 (Intro 02:30) http://www.tommybecker.com/#/pain-body/
The term, “pain-body” was coined by philosopher and author Eckhart Tolle. Tolle writes that the most significant thing that can happen to us in the evolution of our consciousness is to recognize and create, a separation between the thinking mind and conscious awareness. Tolle asserts your ego is not who you are, it is not your essence. Your ego is a construct. This false identity of the ego is often fueled by what Tolle calls the pain-body. The pain-body is the collective manifestation of all the pain, misery, and sorrow a person has ever experienced in their life.
Song for Awe & Dread | 8min | 2015 (Intro - 2min) http://www.tommybecker.com/#/song-for-awe-dread/
Song for Awe & Dread is a contemporary take on the vanitas paintings of the 17th century and an investigation into the emotional duality of our existence. It is AWEsome to be human and to be alive, but the evolution of human intelligence has also burdened our species with a self-awareness of life’s impermanence. The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called these two uniquely human emotions, awe and dread. Through its symbolic meditation on mortality, this work attempts to find meaning between the fleeting flavors of bubblegum and cultural programming that entrenches us in our denial of death.
Song for Disobedient Youth | 2min 35sec | DV | 2008 (Intro 02:30) http://www.tommybecker.com/#/songfordisobedientyouth/
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.
Song for Primary Colors | 9min 10sec | DV | 2013 (Intro – 3min) http://www.tommybecker.com/#/primarycolors/
This work is about the death of color in contemporary art and my attempts as a teacher to resurrect its power in the classroom. 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 a 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.
Song for Failed Connections / Bobby XP1 | 5min 40sec | DV | 2012
Bobby XP1 was invented as a roaming, remotely operated, social media platform during the dot com boom of the late 1990s. This video documents its beta test in a neighborhood of San Francisco. After failing to connect, Bobby returns home to the melancholy serenade of his creator and one true friend.
Song for Hellos and Goodbyes | 4min 30sec | DV | 2013
This short video poem is dedicated to the fleeting relationships that 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.
Song for a Love Song | 5min 20sec | DV | 2014 http://www.tommybecker.com/#/song-for-a-love-song/
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” - Oscar Wilde