Wednesday, November 2, 2011

11/9/11 David Sherman

Wasteland Utopias

2010, 91 minutes, DV, color/stereo sound

USA, Directed by David Sherman

This cine-essay probes the unlikely 1950’s meeting of outsider psychiatrist/naturalist Wilhelm Reich. and mega-developer Del Webb in the Arizona's Sonoran Desert prompting a contemporary examination of environmental and psychological sustainability.


Wasteland Utopias explores the intersection of two radically different utopian thinkers: mega-developer Del Webb and outsider psychiatrist/naturalist Wilhelm Reich. Each found his way into southern Arizona's Sonoran Desert in the late 1950s—Webb building his colossal, panoptically-planned retirement community Sun City and Reich conducting his weather manipulation experiments using Orgone Energy. This unlikely pairing provokes a hallucinatory, magic-conceptualist examination of the disintegrating fabric that connects man with nature, evoking questions about both ecological and social sustainability. Using found footage, documentary interviews, and narrative tableaux, the film interweaves contradictory narratives and critically poetic observations. By juxtaposing these two thinkers—who represent ostensibly opposing visions of a still-undefined future—Sherman asks viewers to consider a multiplicity of perspectives on our endangered natural and social environments.

"Masterpiece"-Craig Baldwin

"It's rare to see a film whose aesthetic principles so elementally parallel the subjects they intend to depict."-Owen O'Toole, Wide Open Cinema

Screenings: European Media Arts Festival, Osnabrueck, Germany; Ann Arbor Film Festival; Chicago Underground Film Festival; Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival; Center For Creative Photography; Union Docs; Phoenix Museum of Art; Globians Doc Fest, Berlin; Echo Park Film Center


David Sherman is a filmmaker and media artist, whose appropriation and collage based, experimental films and videos have been exhibited extensively at film festivals, museums and alternative venues throughout the world. Sherman’s 2010 feature cine–essay Wasteland Utopias premiered at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. His 2002 experimental documentary To Re-edit the World premiered at the San Francisco International Film. Sherman’sTuning the Sleeping Machine was included in the 1997 Whitney Biennial and The New York Film Festival. He co-founded Total Mobile Home the world’s first microcinema in San Francisco in 1993. Sherman has been Administrative Director of Canyon Cinema and was a Professor of Media Arts at California College of the Arts. He currently resides in Bisbee, AZ.