New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsArtist's Showcase



Survival Ecology - Hamburger Harmonics

Alternative Title:
Usart

Copyright Date:
1978?

Artist:
Caldwell, John

Extent:
1 videoreel of 1 (18 min.) : sd., col. ; 2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (VHS) (18 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (Betacam SP) (18 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.

Background:
"Survival Ecology - Hamburger Harmonics" was acquired by the Workshop to be broadcast as part of "Artist's Showcase."

Scope:
Includes a 2" master, Betacam SP preservation master, and VHS screening copy of the completed work. "Survival Ecology" is accompanied on these tapes by "City of the Angels." The tapes were originally labeled as "Usart," although there is nothing in the works to indicate the meaning of this title.

A man conducts an experiment in survival ecology with a house plant as he describes, in a voiceover, how he butchers beef in a slaughterhouse. In his demonstration, the man trims leaves from a plant, cuts them into pieces, burns them, and then plants them in a pot. The man then steps back, doffs his lab coat and gloves, and dons a sports coat and a bow tie.
At this point in the soundtrack, the man concludes his description of the butchering process and begins to reflect on his personal response to the job. He rationalizes the butchering of beef to accompanying images of a food chain. He then returns to his experiment to unearth a large metal ball from the pot in which he planted the pieces of burnt foliage. As he does so, the man concludes that his part in the butchering process is merely that of a machine transforming the cow into something more useful. Upon the conclusion of the narration, text images appear which discuss Marxism, technology, and agrarian politics. Little credit information accompanies the work, which is approximately 12 minutes long.



Producer:
Caldwell, John

Subjects:
Slaughtering and slaughterhouses


See Also:
City of the Angels





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