Video Playlist: Water or Escape

About The Event

Video Playlist: Water or Escape
Andrew Mausert-Mooney & Kera MacKenzie

Wednesday, December 1, 6 p.m. CT
Ferguson Hall, 600 S Michigan Ave

Video Playlist: Water or Escape is programmed by artists Andrew Mausert-Mooney & Kera MacKenzie and presents their newest film Make A Distinction along with two short short companion films. In this program, Mausert-Mooney and MacKenzie take aim at American imperialism and its colluders. The occupation and development of land and the dominant culture’s stories that serve to exploit, glorify, and perpetuate a system of violence and subjugation in American life.  Mausert-Mooney and MacKenzie will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening. 

Using montage film form, Make a Distinction unearths the connections between the occupation and underdevelopment of land with the dominant culture's stories that exploit, glorify, and perpetuate a system of violence and subjugation in and outside U.S. daily life.

The program title, like the film's title, Make a Distinction, is borrowed from a quote by Illinois Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton. “We don’t need no culture except revolutionary culture. What we mean by that is a culture that will free you. You heard your Field Lieutenant talking about a fire in the room, didn’t you? What you worry about when you got a fire in this room? You worry about water or escape. You don’t worry about nothin’ else. If you say “What’s your culture during this fire?” “Water, that’s my culture, Brother, that’s my culture.” Because culture’s a thing that keeps you. “What’s your politics?” Escape and water. “What’s your education?” Escape and water.” – Fred Hampton, "It's A Class Struggle Goddammit!" Speech delivered at Nothern Illinois University, November, 1969

They will open the film with a recorded performance from Bilal Sunni-Ali.

Bilal Sunni-Ali performing Look For Me in the Whirlwind live at Burning Books, Buffalo, NY, 10 min, 2017.

BILAL SUNNI-ALI: Spirit of the Midnight Band. Functioning, practicing Muslim. Veteran member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Conscious Citizen of Record-Republic of New Afrika. Amir (administrative head) Imam Jamil Action Network. FURAHA KUZALIWA (Happy Birthday) to my sister-comrade Akua Njeri Hampton. Widow of the assassinated Chairman Fred Hampton…mother of the Cub Chairman Fred Hampton JR. Chicago FREE ‘EM ALL!

Make A Distinction, 16mm film transferred to digital video, color, sound, 62 min, 2021 

A family has lunch under the shade of a C-47 warcraft. An army installation contains the last remnants of an endangered grassland ecology. Young filmmakers hone their skills making a cop show on Chicago streets. Stylized scenes of field botanists, retail clerks, and soldiers in Clarksville, Tennessee and television workers, and police in Chicago, Illinois reveal the unseen forces of imperialism in US daily life. An examination of a television production and quotations from revolutionary and resistance fighters build to a provocation: name the enemy or become it.

About the filmmakers:

Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney are Chicago-based interdisciplinary artists working primarily in film, video, live broadcast, and installation. Their works have screened and exhibited at venues including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the American Film Institute, Anthology Film Archives, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, UnionDocs, and Chicago Underground Film Festival.

Image credit: Still from Make A Distinction, 2021, Courtesy of the artists. 

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