New York filmmaker Jem Cohen’s work includes Benjamin Smoke, Amber City, Lost Book Found, Instrument, and Buried in Light. His films have screened at festivals including Berlin, Rotterdam, Vancouver, Edinburgh, the Viennale, and Cinematexas. He has had retrospectives at venues including the NFT (London), Oberhausen (Germany), Gijon Film Festival (Spain), and the Berlin Arsenal. His work has been broadcast on PBS, ZDF/ARTE, the BBC, the Sundance Channel, and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Screen Gallery at Federation Square (Melbourne).
As regional character disappears and corporate culture homogenizes our surroundings, it’s increasingly hard to tell where you are. In Chain, malls, theme parks, hotels, and corporate centers worldwide are joined into a monolithic “superlandscape” that shapes and circumscribes the lives of two women. One is a businesswoman studying the international theme park industry. The other is a young drifter, living and working illegally on the fringes of a shopping mall. The Chain projects have appeared in two forms: Chain X Three, a three-screen installation/movie, played at Eyebeam, the Walker Arts Center, MoMa’s Gramercy Theater, and Melbourne’s Screen Gallery. The second feature film version premiered in the Berlin Film Festival and was broadcast on ZDF/ARTE in Germany and France. It has also shown in festivals including Edinburgh, Vancouver, the Viennale, Cinematexas, and in New York at the Museum of Modern Art’s Premieres series.