By Sarah Nichols
With Jive, Steve Cossman takes an ordinary photograph (according to the information on vimeo, it was found, and so wasn’t a family memento) of a girl sitting in a chair in what looks to be a basement, and proceeds to jam the brain’s frequencies. A carpet begins to look like a lost television channel, full of dirty snow. A plastic beach chair has pulled itself apart into pure color, and over it all is the whine of static, burning the ear. The eye is never allowed a resting place. It’s absolutely alive.
But for all of the static rasp and the humming color (and both have a kind of purity) I never felt like a hand had touched it. The photograph looked like it had been taken by a camera from out my childhood, manual and slow, an average family basement. For as little as I know of Steve Cossman and his work, this is obviously professional, which is to be admired, but at the same time, it can be post-modern game playing done on a computer, which can take a great deal of time, and perhaps take filmmaking onto a different path, but it’s also cold. That doesn’t contradict its being alive; it’s a method of exploration. But I want what the found photograph is: a story, or a life; whatever needed to be remembered. Cossman freed the photograph from the memory, and, in some ways, from the forms, and there is a talent in that, if that’s what you want. I want more.
This is film is a rapacious eye, eating up all it sees, and adds sound to it. What was once a moment has become abstract; a face is nothing now, it’s been replaced by a reverb ocean, full of color.
Director: Steve Cossman
Sound: Jeffery Smith