Ken Jacobs is an essential figure in the history of American avant-garde film. A leader in cinematic and now digital experimentation since the late 1950s, he explores the mechanics of the moving image and the very act of viewing. Jacobs investigates the cinematic experience in its entirety, from production to projection. Whether undertaking archaeological journeys to the dawn of cinema or scrutinizing the interstices of new digital technologies, Jacobs' work investigates, provokes, and draws power from the mysteries of the nature of human vision.
From his early verite work with the Video Venice Collective in the 1970s, through his current investigation of the media's portrayal of African American men, Ulysses Jenkins interrogates questions of race, history and the power of the state. In works that explore issues such as the African diaspora and racism in the media, Jenkins provides important insights into the political and cultural realities of African American communities in the United States.
Internet provocateurs JODI pioneered Web art in the mid-1990s. Based in The Netherlands, JODI (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans) were among the first artists to investigate and subvert conventions of the Internet, computer programs, and video and computer games. Radically disrupting the very language of these systems, including interfaces, commands, errors and code, JODI stages extreme digital interventions that destabilize the relationship between computer technology and its users.
An acclaimed multi-media performance artist, Joan Jonas is also a major figure in video art. From her seminal performance-based exercises of the 1970s to her later televisual narratives, Jonas engages in an elusive theatrical portrayal of female identity. Employing an idiosyncratic vocabulary of ritualized gesture and symbolic objects that include masks, mirrors, and costuming, she explores the self and the body through layers of meaning.
Philip Mallory Jones explores the emerging global African diaspora culture and consciousness through nonverbal storytelling and an evocative, transcultural language of sound and image construction. Jones merges experimental narrative and subjective documentary forms to synthesize what Jones terms the "realities of African culture and my own emotional and metaphysical odyssey."
Isaac Julien has forged a critical dialogue on issues of race and sexuality through his work in film, video installation, and photography. Julien, who is based in London, first gained international attention in the 1980s for his provocative feature films, documentaries and experimental video works, which explored black and gay identities. His more recent multi-media installation works extend this inquiry into poetic yet politically charged meditations on representations of race and sexuality.