Kevin Jerome Everson Introduces His Film "Fe26"

"The subject matter is the gestures or tasks caused by certain conditions in the lives of working class African Americans..."

MUBI is partnering with the New York Film Festival to present highlights from Projections, a festival program of film and video work that expands upon our notions of what the moving image can do and be. Kevin Jerome Everson's Fe26 (2014) is showing on MUBI nearly worldwide from October 4 - November 3, 2016.

Kevin Jerome Everson filming Lead (2009). Photo by Jonathan Taee.

Fe26 was filmed in 16 mm in Cleveland, Ohio in the summer of 2014.  The protagonists in the film, “I-Pleeza” and “Streets” had appeared in the 2012 short Rita Larson’s Boy, a part of the Tombigbee Chronicles, No. 2, also filmed in Cleveland.

I often include sculptural objects that I have made as props in my work; in Fe26, these objects include the manhole cover and crowbars that were incorporated into the situation at hand.

With a sense of place and historical research, my films combine scripted and documentary elements with rich elements of formalism. The subject matter is the gestures or tasks caused by certain conditions in the lives of working class African Americans and other people of African descent. The conditions are usually physical, social-economic circumstances or weather. Instead of standard realism I favor a strategy that abstracts everyday actions and statements into theatrical gestures, in which archival footage is re-edited or re-staged, real people perform fictional scenarios based on their own lives and historical observations intermesh with contemporary narratives. The films present oblique metaphors for art-making.


My work must project and reveal the materials, procedure and process. This approach comes from my undergraduate art instruction and influences. My professors, educated at Iowa University and Yale in the 1970s, taught from this standpoint in the 1980s when I was in college. It was a post-Smithson approach. I believe that this approach is not necessarily important to be noticeable to the viewer; it merely explains how I continue to approach the craft of art making. I firmly believe that the materials (film, video) of the work must be noticeable. A light flare, over-exposed film, color flares, distorted sounds and even prolonged taping enhances my notion of materiality. Procedure is the formal quality I am exploring with the work. The process is the execution of the formal quality. Once I have a grasp of procedure, the process becomes a discipline. —Kevin Jerome Everson

Fe26. Copyright KJE; photo courtesy the artist; Trilobite-Arts DAC; Picture Palace Pictures

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