2004, 17:15 min, color, sound

Arena was presented both as a live performance for an invited audience, and as a video shoot on two consecutive weekends at Salon 94 in New York. This took place one month before the presidential election and concurrent with the main debates. Its theme and structure echo these events. Three cameras connected to live feeds filmed as the sequence of scenes ran twice through. The video is a real-time mix of the three points of view from the final round of the performance on October 3rd. As such, it serves both as a document and an independent piece - situated to expose the mechanics of the live event, in between documentation and the fiction of the narrative. Arena examines the essential components of competition and the dynamics of power. The two main opponents choose their groups, each forming an ad hoc hierarchy over which they assume leadership and from whom they expect support. They play a series of games to compete for power, money and status. Alliances shift as winners and losers emerge from each round and payoffs are made to the winners. Tensions mount as one of the protagonists appears to have lost the race. This escalates to a rupture at which point the tables turn. The original power structure is reinstated, and the game resumes.

Director/Editor: Alix Pearlstein. Actors: Lynn Cohen, Cathy Curtin, Christen Clifford, Steven Rattazzi, David Mazzeo, Michael Stumm, Ron Cohen. Camera: Jay King, Alix Pearlstein, David Zuckerman. Production Assistant: Briony Barr. Still Photography/Technical Coordination: Birgit Rathsmann, Bosung Kim. Additional Technical Assistance: Tim Goodwin. Producer: Jeanne Greenberg Rohaytn. Filmed at Salon 94, NYC.