EPFC | May 3rd, 2019

guest curator: Alex Johnston

The theme for this month: “SAYS WHO?”: MEDIA AND AUTHORITY
How does authority inhere in media? How is it maintained and how is it expressed? Who has the authority to define the past? Who has the authority to determine the future? Who has the authority to speak for whom? Who has the authority to lead? Who has the authority to bury the dead?

Says who?

For the final film in this series, we’ve got Emma Cooney’s hilarious yet melancholy AUTOMATIC DOOM. Inspired by a Sunday night family ritual, the film is a masterful supercut, drawing us in to the weird and world-weary mind of the legendary radio and television writer Andy Rooney. Compiling clips from “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney,” the long-running (1978-2011) concluding segment of the weekly news magazine “60 Minutes,” AUTOMATIC DOOM subverts dominant paradigms of traditional televisual authority figures, celebrating Rooney as an intensely self-aware and humble authoritative voice. Deeply cynical yet deeply sincere, Rooney (and the film) offer the viewer a long curmudgeonly sigh, a humorous rumination on mortality, environmental catastrophe and the virtues and vices of sleep. AUTOMATIC DOOM is a profoundly humane work, showing us not that misery love company, but that company can provide much-needed relief from misery. Through Rooney’s open-hearted reflections on the terrifying miasma of precarity that shapes contemporary life, we feel a little bit less alone in the daily struggle just to muddle through, and to get a good night’s sleep.