Daniel Reeves Critical Response

Video art world describes Reeves' work as a set of three recurring themes being: "a searing denunciation of American technological culture that peaks in his videos about Vietnam; an illustration of poetry, in which rhythm and meaning are visualized; the quest for a reconciliation between man and Nature as well as the reconstitution of a cosmogony describing the major cycles of existence". (Munoz 2010) I believe this interpretation of courtesy of Video Art World is spot on. In most of the films that Reeves' has produced they show a warning of impending evil or threat, which would be the denunciation. For instance in smothering dreams the evil or threat is the ongoing act of violence. It is carried on from generation to generation, as seen by the boys playing war in the sand box to the men that are risking their lives on the battlefield. It seems that Video Art World and I share that same belief that Smothering Dreams along with some of his other works are a grasp of his own beliefs on war as an indicator of norms and values dominating American society.

Another author that positively critiques Daniel Reeves' is Chris Drake. Drake talks about how Obsessive Becoming opens with the camera closing in on images of family and violence. A search is on here is a climate of endemic violence that extends from the home to the warzone, an association made explicit in the image of wholesome crew- cut schoolboys marching against a back- drop of raining bombs. For reeves, the child is both agent and victims of a brutality that has been bred in the bone. It is this chillingly cyclical transition from a culture to a nature of violence. (Drake, 2000) In this outtake we see that Drake views this film similar to electronic arts and I view the film. There is correlation between the kids and the war, just as electronic arts noted. We see that there is a firsthand experience being filmed as well as a heightened sense of fear amongst the boys.

Patricia Zimmerman describes reeves' work as "personal, poetic, experimental video documentary with signature pieces such as Smothering Dreams , Sabda, Sombra A Sombra, Ganapati: Spirit of the Bush , and his epic masterwork, Obsessive Becoming ". (Zimmerman, 1998) All of Reeves' works have helped in some way or another contributes to the legitimating video as an art form. I believe that Zimmerman is correct in identifying Reeves' work because we know that his work as a personal touch added to it because it is well documented that his films deal with the personal and political nightmares dealing with the Vietnam War. His work is poetic as in the way the movies occupy the central ground in Reeves' body of work, transforming different locations by adopting the visions of various source texts by poets like Garcia Lorca, Cesar Villejo and Kabir. In this way, Reeves helps us to see according to what we hear, creating elegant realizations and rhythms that inspirit the contemplations of this companion poetry. (Electronic Arts, 2010)


Drake, C. (2000). Light Readings: Film Criticism and Screen Arts . Great Britian: Wallflower.

Electronic Arts Intermix. (2010, December 3). Daniel reeves. Retrieved from www.eai.org/artistBio.htm?id=375

Munoz, Torrero. (2010). Video Art World. Retrieved from www.videoartworld.com/beta/artist_1172.html

Zimmerman, Patricia. (1998). Processing Trauma: The Media Art of Daniel Reeves. Afterimage, 26 Retrieved from www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=0EFA493012466565F9B47A27D19CD309.inst2_2b?docId=5001374567

--Chris Stunkel, 2010.

Daniel Reeves