October 8, 2002
"Coverage," an interactive digital media installation by SFSU cinema Professor Jan Millsapps and sound artist Phill Sawyer, opened Tuesday as part of the 25th annual Mill Valley Film Festival. The installation offers post-Sept. 11 commentary from a feminist perspective.
Through the metaphor of the Afghan burqa, "Coverage" re-examines identities of "us" versus "them" and questions momentous shifts in America's post-Sept. 11 value system, which Millsapps believes all too often celebrates heroic acts and military might while devaluing the lives of those "less muscular."
The computer user goes virtually inside the head of a Afghan woman who encounters one obstacle after another as she crosses a desert in her journey home. The user can click on a series of hidden links that trigger experimental feminist films, animated images and news clips. Other links take the user to an interview with an Afghan woman on the burqa and an open letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Millsapps, a pioneering digital filmmaker who has created interactive and online movies for 10 years, is a Mill Valley Film Festival veteran. In 1999 she presented the festival's first online offering, an interactive performance piece titled "Pleasure Island." Her interactive CD-ROM "Episodes," a presentation of powerful stories by survivors of domestic violence, was featured at the 1998 festival.
"Coverage" is on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 12 at Art Works Downtown, 1337 Fourth St. in San Rafael. Admission is free.
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