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JEM COHEN

 

Jem Cohen – Multi talented, the North American artist Jem Cohen (born in 1962, Cabul, Afghanistan) grew up during the buzz of the new york scene. Thus, he imported all the narrative experimentation codes, the formal and the do it yourself of the less fortunate (also influenced by the punk ways of doing). His MO is filled with archive material collected on the streets, portraits of his friends and travel companions, on a more personal and often biographic.

 

Radical filmmaker, Jem Cohen is one of the central characters of the 80’s experimental cinema. With a strong political stand, Cohen always aligned himself with those who oppose the absolute power of MTV. For that, his music videos are anti-star movies, rejecting all the fuss of the MTV aesthetics. Cohen worked with several musicians, like Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Fugazi, Vic Chesnutt, the Ex, Terry Riley, Elliot Smith, Sparklehorse and Orpheus Orchestra. The mythical “Nightswimming”, from REM, has his signature.

 

Curtas Vila do Conde made a retrospective of several of his music videos (he’d rather use the term “Music Works”) on the section Stereo (dedicated to the melting pot of cinema and music). In all his works, Jem Cohen is doing the thing he always wanted to do: “Ephemeral records, they are part of a paradoxical search at the core of all photography – the search for a permanent ghost.”