Face Value

2015, 14:10 min, color, sound, HD video

Writes Tony Cokes: “The sections making up the video Face Value: von Trier, Bowie, Kanye began with a short text that I was asked to write prior to the American release of Lars von Trier’s Manderlay in 2006. At that time I decided to focus my commentary on one part of the film: the closing credits. The text was not published then, but while writing it a friend brought to my attention some quotations from David Bowie that seemed to be relevant to it – particularly since the film’s closing credits featured a Bowie song, ‘Young Americans,’ as its soundtrack. Those David Bowie quotes were incorporated as a frame for my review. When in 2011 I had an opportunity to publish an edited version of the text in an LA arts broadsheet, P & Co., another friend and colleague suggested some then recent quotations from von Trier himself that might expand and complicate the project. A transcript of this ‘rant’ became a set of images functioning as “illustrations” for my short article. What started as a long epigraph and postscript to a text became a text animation (again unpublished or released in that form), then a sequence of still images. Over this last year when revising this text some additional quotes from Kanye West rants got added to underline how references to fascism, race, ethnicity, religion, and violence continue to figure in ‘controversial’ public utterances by artists. Many quotations were compiled and arranged into three short animations set to different 1970s tracks by David Bowie that are now joined to form the bulk of my contribution to this journal.”