PANORAMA: JIVE BY STEVE COSSMAN

This entry was posted on July 2nd, 2012

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 What was once a moment has become abstract; a face is nothing now, it’s been replaced by a reverb ocean, full of color.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
2011
8 min