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Mike Hoolboom - Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

November 28, 2017

My parents understood that television required faith, and in my earliest years they couldn’t summon the necessary conviction. But newly inspired by the space race, they gave in and purchased a TV shortly before Apollo 11 landed two humans on the moon. We watched in awe, even though it looked like something that might have been happening in my neighbour’s backyard.

As a teenager the only TV I watched was « Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ». Everything else looked like capitalism. Well, Mary looked capitalism too, but it showed a system in decline, rather famously, as someone plucked to demonstrate the virtues of the average, she has a breakdown on TV, and around that time was picked up (in real life) for shoplifting thrift store items. Her boundaries were dissolving under the gruelling shooting schedule of a daily TV show, while my body woke up every day as something new and strange, with erections that belonged to someone else, and ideas that floated across my skin attached to people long dead. Mary provided reassurance that I wasn’t alone.

 

« Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman », is a soap opera, produced by Norman Lear, directed by Joan Darling, Jim Drake, Nessa Hyams and Giovanna Nigro, starred by Louise Lasser. Daily (weekday) From January 1976 to May 1977

 

Today TV doesn’t exist, though the idea of a series has outlasted it. The series I like most is the open screenings which are run here in Toronto by John Cresson and Adam Rosen.

Anyone can walk through the door and show whatever they like, though contributions are encouraged to run less than ten minutes. It’s an image of democracy, with all of the mess and boredom and good intentions the word implies. The nights are long, and there are too many visitors of the male persuasion, but down the alleyway at a long-running joint named CineCycle there is a seasonal attempt to allow screen time for someone like you, accompanied by a digital file or an old can of film. It means coming together in the dark in order to celebrate something very local, even as it maps out new neighbourhoods, new possibilities for connection and practice. We can’t stay in our internet hideout forever, can we ?

 

Mike Hoolboom

Saison Video 2017, online programme, LE RIDEAU ORANGE

16 - 29 octobre 2017

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