the American Center, Paris, with the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Public Art Fund
1992, 24 min, color, sound

This international public art project reflects a broad spectrum of cultural, national, racial and ethnic diversity in America and France today. Created by seven American and seven French artists, these 60-second "spots" are transcultural investigations into national and cultural identity, video messages about political and social shifts at the close of the 20th century. Produced by the American Center, Paris, with the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Public Art Fund.

A Tale of Two Cities
by Nam June Paik and Paul Garrin

Television on speed, Nam June Paik's A Tale of Two Cities is a potpourri of pop personalities, avant-garde antics and international cultural kitsch, where past, present and future collide in the kaleidoscopic, hyper-kinetic, televisually "now."

by Bruce and Norman Yonemoto

Europe's enchantment with American consumer culture is depicted, as well-known European architectural landmarks — the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis, London Bridge — are reflected in the glossy surface of a 1960's Cadillac convertible, the ultimate symbol of the "golden age" of American consumerism.

by Beth B

A chilling cautionary tale, Amnesia is a stark and uncompromising portrayal of the escalation of xenophobic sentiment in the current neo-conservative climate of both France and the U.S.

Blown Up
by Angela Melitopoulos

With reflected images of classic American myths and ideals Melitopoulos suggests that many cultural assumptions, reinforced by mass media, are obsolete, and that notions of geopolitics must be revised.

Circular Rites
by Nil Yalter

Yalter purposefully intercuts images of herself (a woman of Turkish descent) with a succession of modern Arab women protesting in the streets. With an evocative soundtrack of women's voices, this arresting collage of visuals and spoken text conveys the multicultural aspect of today's Europe.

Europe Feed Back Day
by Patrick de Geetere and Cathy Wagner

The artists adopt the insidious techniques of advertising to question the manipulative power, global profusion and destructive values of commercial messages.

Fire! The Memory
by Pierre Lobstein

Recreated images of the conquest of the Americas serve as the backdrop for this stinging indictment of European annexation.

Happy New Order
by Canal Dechaine

With computer artist Olivia Tele Clavel, Dechaine reworks archetypal images from recent American history depicting moments in the fight for human dignity — of protest, resistance and displays of pride and outrage.

Jamais l'un sans l'autre (Never one without the other)
by Benoit Carre

Carre describes this piece as "... an attempt to show how technology intervenes in all of our physical and social relationships."

by Tom Kalin

This highly stylized and deftly edited provocation features a cast of performers, diverse in national origin, who recite a litany of statements meant to challenge viewers' secure notions of national identity. Kalin asserts that bodies are very real battlegrounds, territories that are contested and controlled by the same political forces that determine borders or set national policies.

Paradigm Shift
by Philip Mallory Jones

This poetic meditation on the cultures of the African diaspora is a richly visualized collage of sounds and images derived from African cosmology, tracing the long historical struggle to define a trans-cultural African race.

by Dara Birnbaum

Birnbaum swiftly traces the geopolitical history of the U.S and then France, charting their constant reconfigurations across maps rendered malleable through special effects. A densely layered soundtrack guides the viewer through this "anti-terrain," in which boundaries are arbitrary and national identities unstable.

Two Faces of One Room
by Victor Masayesva, Jr.

Two sacred architectural structures of two dissimilar cultures — the kiva of the Native American and the cathedral of Western Europe — are juxtaposed to contemplate their cultural and spiritual differences.

Wanderers Nightsong
by Michel Chion

Using the text of a brief poem by Goethe and the music of Franz Schubert, Chion asserts that the impulse to create poetry and beauty is a link between cultures.

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