Directed by Elizabeth Vasquez
The land and the lord are two subjects, oft intertwined, that have fascinated artists for as long as there’s been art. The resulting work is often meditative, transient, impossible to grasp. With All Alone Before Frozen Gods, director Elizabeth Vasquez wades through the muck of our collective subconscious as a means to explore the absence of divinity in contemporary American culture.
There are all the hallmarks of American iconography, only grotesquely subverted: a desert filled with abandoned consumer goods, people wearing skeleton masks in the middle of dusty roads, voice-over non-sequiturs about life and love and capitalism, rows of dilapidated split level houses in seemingly long forgotten suburbs. The imagery, all captured in a vintage video format, weaves together like a kind of spirit guide, over which the accompanying audio asks us--and itself--what is really going on here. Not just in the film, but in life. Where the hell is God, what is this thing called existence and why should we even care?
There’s a scene about three quarters of the way through the film in which a rambling narrator unravels his theory on opinions and why we have them--why we like what we like--before ultimately focusing into an assessment of “like culture,” just as the visual cuts to a woman in a Scream mask taking a selfie while making a peace sign. To Vasquez, this moment is as close as we’ll ever get to truly unpacking the divine: a referential cesspool of self aggrandizement as a means to mask our undying, underlying existential dread.
Review By David Lombroso
You can find more of Elizabeth Vasquez’s work on Vimeo.
All Alone Before Frozen Gods was selected and screened for our VOL. 002 Series, November 25th, 2018