Marvelous Movie Mondays: Pattern For Survival

EPFC | April 8th, 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?

This week we’ve got Kelly Sears “dreadfully” brilliant short film, PATTERN FOR SURVIVAL (2015), a spare yet dense interrogation of ideologies of “preparedness” in the face of perceived existential threats. How-to models (cut out from exercise manuals, emergency preparedness texts, hunting guidebooks, etc.) find themselves caught in desperate and compulsive loops of aggression, physical conditioning and disaster mitigation, as ominous slogans such as “Don’t pretend you have no fears,” “You can use bone as an effective weapon,” and “Security takes priority” appear below them on screen. These grotesque and revealing fragments of text, culled from a US Army Survival Manual, combine with the images to produce a kind of bizarro world survivalist handbook. In this way, Sears’ film compels us to question who and what it is we should actually be fearing.