What recording my conversations with student loan lenders taught me

“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.” — James Baldwin

In 2005 — when I was 17 years old — I signed for my first student loan with my mother and father as my co-signers. I didn’t have a license, I couldn’t vote, and my summer job was scooping ice cream. Like so many American students, I dreamed about a future that was attainable through hard work and the pursuit of education to better oneself. I graduated a 4-year college…

ARC. 2.0 Poster by Mike McGuirk

On April 20th, 2019, I was invited to the University of Pennsylvania to perform what I refer to as live cinema. Live cinema, in its essence, is taking projected video to form linear and non-linear narratives to create a cinematic experience.

The idea behind this evolved from my collaboration with David Sliski, an astronomer at the University of Pennsylvania, who wanted to explore contemporary issues related to science, environmentalism, and academia. Without knowing who my collaborators would be, I took on the role of Video DJ, working with artists to find the heart or truth of what our collaboration meant.

I’m in the back of a nondescript passenger van weaving through the Hollywood Hills. I’m here for the reason I promised myself I’d never be here for; A tour of Hollywood studios and production companies with a film school. Despite my best expectation management, I’m completely engrossed with one final meeting with a filmmaker best understood as an untamed lion of auteurism. He’s here living in this sun-cooked circus, surrounded by tentpole features erected by an unseen autocratic force of agents and producers listening to algorithms and box office numbers.

The door glides open. I pile out with a dozen…

When Twin Peaks originally aired in 1990, the landscape of television changed forever. Viewers and television executives alike began to understand that the art-house could be an American household with a television screen. Since Laura Palmer told Agent Cooper she would see him in 25 years, and the release of the film prequel, Fire Walk with Me, the world has changed dramatically. I find myself asking in an era of peak television, what does a new season of Twin Peaks mean after a 25-year cultural sabbatical? How does it evolve thematically for the viewer? …

Michael McGuirk

Writer, Filmmaker, Activist, New York Citizen Pruner. motionpictures.nyc | blissfactory.org

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