Jul 27–Sep 16, 2020

Open Video Call 2020 with Lino Kino


Each year ICA provides a platform for Philadelphia-area artists to share new work through our juried screening series known as Open Video Call (OVC). For the 21st edition of OVC we invited local media arts collective Lino Kino to curate the program. Videos by eight artists were selected this year. A different artist will be featured on Mondays at 12PM, followed by a conversation between the artist and members of Lino Kino on Wednesdays at 6PM discussing the selected video.

The program begins July 27, 2020 and runs through September 16, 2020. The schedule for the screenings and conversations can be found below. Click on to the links with the artists’ names to access their videos and interviews.

Lino Kino is a Philadelphia-based media arts collective dedicated to exploring new approaches to experimental art exhibition. Since the spring of 2018 Lino Kino has worked towards creating an open forum for film and electronic art in Philadelphia by hosting frequent screenings and performance events.


Open Video Call 2020 is supported by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and the Sachs Contemporary Art Fund.

Programming at ICA has been made possible in part by the Emily and Jerry Spiegel Fund to Support Contemporary Culture and Visual Arts and the Lise Spiegel Wilks and Jeffrey Wilks Family Foundation, and by Hilarie L. & Mitchell Morgan.

Accessibility programming at ICA is supported by the John Alviti Fund for Museum Innovation at the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia.


In Godspeed, Glenn “Sonnie” Wooden visits his native Chicago to investigate the liminal spaces between black and white cultural experiences. “My life has always been that metaphor of living on the border . . . you move out of the hood and into the suburbs and who you are is still there,” the artist says. Though Wooden never shows himself, he is ever-present as the cameraman and narrator guiding us along his journey.

Bookended by shots of a plane window, Godspeed is a powerful visual metaphor for the separation Wooden feels from the city he returns to document. Though many scenes depict joyful reunions, there is an ambient melancholy to the film, as if the artist is a visitor to a former life.

Godspeed deftly addresses the cultural divide that exists between black and white residents of Chicago. A close-up of a black hairdresser’s hands twisting braids is visually echoed later in a similar close-up of white hands shaving truffles onto a plate of risotto. These simple but powerful visual pairings imbue scenes of everyday life with deeper, more universal meaning.

Matt Lavine’s Collision Gripper is a vibrant, digital fever dream. Is it the nightmare of a Second Life avatar? A glitched-out social distancing simulator? A PlayStation game gone wrong? Using a unique combination of analog video and 3D animation, Lavine produces a throng of faceless humanoids that move and collide in a distorted void. Alex Petshaft’s accompanying soundscape of blaring sirens and whirring drones adds to the chaos of the scene.

Collision Gripper evokes a heightened awareness of our proximity to others that is painfully relevant to our current social landscape. As in John Muse’s Duet, Lavine’s subjects are often confined to tight spaces, either squashed together or isolated in cubical prisons. Notions of inside and outside are blurred in this virtual world. Figures walk across what looks like a city square before careening off along disorienting vectors that scramble our sense of perspective and position.

Collision Gripper also raises questions of autonomy and hierarchy. A massive being controls the smaller entities, sending them flying around the CGI dreamscape. Is this the Collision Gripper, perhaps the god of Lavine’s synthesized void? Or is it just another prisoner, controlled by an even higher power? Collision Gripper culminates with the bodies falling down as if they’ve suddenly been switched off, the artist’s final reminder that he is the supreme architect of this world.

Catalina Jordan Alvarez’s Sound Spring Seq. #6: The School and the Home is an excerpt from a feature-length documentary exploring the civil rights history of Yellow Springs, Ohio. The piece focuses on the memories of a former student at the Antioch School and her experience of meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a child.

The work is shot like a traditional talking head interview, but with one key stylistic manipulation: the on-screen interviewees are two girls who lip sync to the overdubbed audio. This change creatively subverts one of the basic tropes of documentary filmmaking and brings new meaning to the artist’s otherwise minimalist approach.

Instead of directly documenting her subject, Alvarez creates an impression of her as she might have been at the time of her recollections. Casting the young girls as the on-screen avatars of the original subjects creates a generational dialogue and a sense of a parallel, shared experience. Alvarez further heightens the surreality of the scene by splicing in diegetic audio where she can be heard directing the girls from behind the camera.


Boothe Carlson’s fantastick is a meditation on the creative challenges facing artists in this time of isolation caused by the global pandemic. The film begins with a bleary haze of interlaced scenes before settling on an ominous phrase emblazoned on a church marquee: “WHEN THE TEMPLE SHUTS DOWN.”

A montage of surreal health advice follows, set to a loop of Carlson’s own hypnotic melodies and rhythmic clicking. “Soak ur TampOns in hand Sanitizer” flashes across the screen, while a pair of blue-gloved hands pantomimes for the camera. A tampon transforms into a glue stick. The artist pulls down her paper face mask and smears the glue stick across her lips.

The parade of images mined from our present makes fantastick a truly pandemic work of art. As recently as two months ago, items like hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves, and face masks occupied far less space in our cultural imagination. Now they have taken on a new life, symbolizing the responsibilities foisted upon us in the interest of public health.

The film’s playful humor introduces some much-needed nuance to the dialogue around the current crisis. fantastick neither disparages these new safety measures, nor is it wholly deferential to them, but rather exists somewhere in between. Carlson recognizes the value of masks and social distancing, while acknowledging the mental whiplash caused by the quantum shift in our understanding of what is normal.

John Muse, Duet, 2019. Video (color, sound), 10:44 min.

In Duet, John Muse reflects on the experience of recovering from a traumatic illness: “There’s the body you’re living in that’s sick, and then that one disappeared and I’m left with this other thing.” In conversation with Mason Rosenthal, the artist recounts the physical challenges of healing, mulling over fried vocal cords, twitching eyes, and snapping sternums.

Muse pairs voiceover with collaged video, fragmentary images, and a disturbing ASMR-like soundtrack of scratches, pops, and breaths to create a complex tonal balance. Two figures squeeze their faces into an unidentifiable plane that bisects the screen (eerily reminiscent of people on a video call). Mouths press up against glass and frantically suck on pieces of candy, breaking up once-linear scenes into a frenetic cascade of images.

One of the film’s strengths is the way it transitions from complex and confusing to direct and digestible. The flurry of voice and video is initially hard to follow, but the narration gradually guides us to a state of understanding. As the dialogue develops, a clearer picture of the narrators’ journey through illness and recovery emerges. In Duet, Muse strikes a unique balance between formal experimentation and exposition.

In Amy & Iva Group INC., collaborators Amy Frear and Iva Yos present a “confidential” video conference between corporate bigwigs (played by the artists) as they plan cover-ups of a variety of outlandish PR nightmares. The frames that the characters inhabit are bordered by bouncing text and a generic spinning globe, tongue-in-cheek references to sanitized corporate aesthetics.

Cartoonish ink drawings illustrate the characters’ plans, weaving a secondary visual narrative throughout the piece. Similar illustrations appear elsewhere in Yos’s work: last year she toured a thirty-minute comedy show titled This Caterpillar Wants to Give You a Kiss, in which she explains one hundred of her humorous drawings.

Frear and Yos’s film is brimming with absurdist comedy. Characters wear oversized suits and draw with oversized pens. With bulldozing confidence, they brainstorm ridiculous solutions to ridiculous problems, like a symbolic stipend for a chinchilla. Their flippant identification of scapegoats is chillingly evocative of real-life corporate pragmatism.

Created during the current pandemic, Amy & Iva Group INC. explores the increasing relevance of so-called “Zoom culture” and offers a satirical take on face-saving corporate conduct.


Kyuri Jeon’s Born, Unborn, and Born Again explores tradition, violence, bodily autonomy, and the complex discourse surrounding abortion in the artist’s native Korea. Rather than cast the debate in the familiar polarizing tones, however, Jeon presents us with a wide range of perspectives. This deeply personal piece finds new ways of challenging us to consider the oppression that women’s bodies are subjected to.

Internal and external conflicts collide with questions about the value of heritage and belonging. As the artist explains, “Born, Unborn, and Born Again revolves around my struggle to embody the white horse, a zodiac sign which occurs every sixty-year cycle in East Asian countries . . . an untold history resurfaces in the present, and reorients us towards the future.”

A video chat with Jeon’s mother, a demonstration in Seoul, a claustrophobic airplane bathroom—the various locations and formats underscore the importance of translation in the film. We are guided through these oppositional worlds by the artist’s careful narration, sometimes in Korean, sometimes in English. Through stark unaltered images, Jeon weaves a tapestry of intimate scenes to form a complex and honest work.

Marc Williams’s From Loved Ones condenses the endless scroll of contemporary media consumption into a single harrowing minute. The piece visualizes the unseen pathways we follow through digital space, unfolding in a rapid, maximalist style, reminiscent of fast-paced internet browsing.

Williams combines footage of his personal living space with screen captures of his own media activity, juxtaposing two familiar realities. The work challenges us to consider the sounds and images that we consume in daily life. The title relates to a phone call heard throughout the film. Williams talks to a man— presumably a loved one—while a wave of clips floods the screen. This conversation adds a layer of human connection and centers the artist as the subject in his own work.

From Loved Ones attempts to develop a visual language for an age saturated in imagery. Viewing the hyperdense work leaves us with a sense of media burnout. The final seconds present closing credits on the artist’s media consumption, with multiple screens layered simultaneously, as if to say, “Here is all the media that your brain takes in.” The experience of seeing it all laid out in one place is an overwhelming one.