With 131 short films and nine features, the artist Kevin Jerome Everson may well be the most prolific American filmmaker working today. He is also the most aesthetically radical, not least because of his interrogation of the intertwined formations of blackness, labour and place. Everson pursues an abstraction that is forged through a work on the photorealist image, a formalism uniquely leavened with an attentive approach to the histories and presences of the African-American working-class individuals he films. Born in Mansfield, Ohio, and based in Charlottesville, where he is professor of art at UVA (University of Virginia), Everson recovers untold histories and minor figures of African-American life in the South and Midwest, in the wake of the Second Great Migration, which took millions of African Americans from the South to the North, Midwest and West between 1940 and 1970. Trained as a visual artist, seasoned in sculpture, street photography, painting and installation, he adopted filmmaking as his primary practice in 1997, using found footage, portraiture, re-enactment, documentary, archival historiography and performance art.

Everson’s cinema embraces the oblique and the opaque, avoiding the expository. He says that he makes his films for his subjects, rather than for an audience. His approach short-circuits a liberal white gaze that seeks a certain narrative of blackness’s representability. His images prompt us to look differently, precisely because they do not require the spectator’s participation to be complete. Everson’s subjects bear an occupational intelligence; they know what they are doing far
better than the spectator. In Sound That (2014), Cleveland Water Department workers listen for underground leaks using metal rods inserted into the pavement. What they hear, how they divine such systemic flaws, remains unknown to the viewer.

Everson’s films investigate the expressive capacities, conditions and materialities of unseen craft or marginalised gestures. Various tasks, processes and actions are performed ritually for the camera. Corporeal movement operates at once as training, grind, and zone of contingency: a hospital worker sorts surgical implements, dancers energetically krump (Erie, 2010), an elderly beauty-school instructor demonstrates hair-conditioning techniques, a water-skier glides, a dam worker surveys (The Island of St. Matthews, 2013), football players practise scrimmage moves (Tygers, 2014), cowboys and cowgirls practise the art of calf-roping and lassoing for the rodeo (Ten Five in the Grass, 2012). Sport and toil, leisure and ceremony, all elaborate a poetics of performance.


Taken from 'Working It Out' by Elena Gorfinkel, Sight & Sound, Ocober 2017, Vol. 27, Issue 10.

Disc Info

USA, 2005-2020
Total running time: 520 mins
Sound: 2.0 Stereo LPCM
Colour / Black and white
Original aspect ratios:
1.33:1 / 1.78:1
Language: English

Blu-ray: BD50 x 2 / 1080p
Region ABC (Region Free)

Blu-Ray: £24.99
Release Date: 9 Nov 2020


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