Essay


Almy's characteristic style and renowned work make her one of the most talented video artists of the twentieth century. By incorporating dramatic theatrics, sophisticated video production, and passionately relevant themes, Max Almy has a style all her own.

Almy's videos entertain and provoke thought to the viewer. Deadline (1980), features a running man in a square superimposed over a magnified mouth that speaks to him. The mouth gently nurtures him at first then gets aggressive and criticizing as the man desperately tries to continue running. Deadline abstractly portrays man's relationship to society and reflects the stress man feels in the urban environment.

Leaving the 20th Century was probably Almy's most famous video. It was made in 1982, and there are three sections "Countdown", "Departure", and " Arrival". Leaving the 20th Century illustrates how technology is rapidly making humans obsolete and interpersonal contact impossible. In the section "Arrival", images of the person are distorted and unclear, reflecting that the future of man's presence and very existence is uncertain.

Perfect Leader, made in 1983, is a satire of the political television spot. It portrays political image making and the marketing of a candidate. Three political "types" are evaluated by a narrator; they are an evangelist, a charismatic smooth talker, and a concientious "good Joe". As the tempo of the changing images speeds up, background symbols of political promises quickly degenerate into icons of oppression and nuclear war.

Lost in the Pictures is an abstract reflection of a generation strongly influenced by the media. In the film a young man is in his home sedately watching television. As he continues to watch he becomes more hypnotized as the bright and flashy images of television violently penetrate he senses. It reveals that in the television world anything can become real; watch out or you can get lost in it.

The Thinker was made in 1989. This video explores the relationship between technology and humanity in terms of evolution. This clever and humorous film shows how in our quest for technology, we regress back to a primal state of being.

All in all, Almy's dramatic style has made her one of the most brilliant video artists of modern times. She was truly ahead of her time. Her films reflected not only what was going on in society, but they also seemed to peer into the future and ask questions of what was to come. She used cool, modern images and funky music to capture the youthful audience of the eighties. None of her work is the least bit boring, and when you are finished watching, your mind continues to wonder.

--Robin Currier, 2001



Max Almy