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David Cox
(David Albert Cox)
b. Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England, UK, May 8th, 1963.

BIOGRAPHY:   David Cox is a filmmaker, artist, writer and teacher based in San Francisco. His films include Puppenhead, Otherzone, and Tatlin.

He holds a Masters Degree in Animation and Interactive Multimedia (RMIT 2003) and a Bachelor of Education from Deakin University, Melbourne.

His books include the nonfiction Sign Wars: The Culture Jammers Strike Back, published via LedaTape as well as the novella Dr. Yes and The Mystery of the Mission also published via Ledatape (Winter 2013).

 


CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   My work revolves around technology and identity and how these in turn relate to social and urban space. My books and films are about how people are mediated by technologies and media that act as extensions of themselves.

- David Cox, November 2015


FILMOGRAPHY:

 
 
Onus On Us

Onus On Us (1986, 90 mins, Super-8)

Onus On Us
began as a cinema verite movie of my own life, but ended as a film-performance staged at events such as the annual Super 8 Film Festival in Melbourne in 1986 and 1987. I also performed it in Brussels at the 9th International Festival of Super 8 Film and Video. 90 minutes of Super 8 film depicts the general goings-on of my life, but also includes appearances, interviews and comments from film maker friends and colleagues in Melbourne at the time including: John Cumming, Jane Masden, Jo Hampton, Sarah Zadeh, artists Peter Scott (filmed in his Burke Street studio). During a performance microphones would be placed in the audience whose comments would form part of a live soundtrack mixed in with tape loops, sound effects and live Balinese flute playing and live synthesizer via a mixer as the film was played on multiple screens along with 16mm.


Monuments Far and Strange
(1989, 4 mins, 16mm, B&W, experimental)

"Lost forever in the vortex of Eastern European anxiety, our puppet hero Hector languishes in scene after scene of contrived torment. Antiquity is thus his total realm, his self... This is the flipside of Perestroika; the solid weight of monuments and walls crashing down on waiting faceless figures." - David Cox, Cantrills Filmnotes, Issue 63/64, December 1990.


 
 
Spiral USA

Panoramicon (1989, 25 mins, Super-8)

Travelogue of journey around Europe


Tatlin
(1990, 1 min, 16mm)

Made as an exercise in my animation class at Swinburne University in 1990, Tatlin is rumination on the life & work of Vladimir Tatlin. The poem on the soundtrack is read by John Flaus, and was written by Velimir Klebnikov, whose description of Tatlin as 'one of the order of sun-catchers' was apt indeed. The models and puppet of Tatlin were built on a tabletop and filmed with the Animation department’s stop-motion Bolex camera fitted with a motorized intervalometer. Shooting took place over a period of three weeks. Music by Mary Finsterer, Animation by David Cox, Assistance by Andrew Boucher, Soo Ling Chong, John Hardy and Thanks to Lucia Tancredi.


Puppenhead
(1990, 7.5 mins, 16mm, B&W)

Berlin, 1934: John Flaus plays Goethe, the puppeteer whose mechanical clockwork knife-throwing act is under surveillance by a slimy SS agent (Heinz Boeck). The showdown comes at a New York presentation of the show. Made at Swinburne School of Film & Television (now VCA Film School, Victoria, Australia) in 1990. Written and Directed by David Cox, Animation by David Cox Director of Photography Walter Repich, Production Manager Sarah Zadeh, Music by Ian Eccles-Smith, Editor and Sound Design Graeme Jackson, Produced by David Atkinson, Executive Producer John Bird, Made with the Assistance of the Australian Film Commission.

 
 
Puppenhead

International sales: Jane Balfour Films Ltd
Australian sales: Australian Film Institute Distribution

Festivals: Australian Film Institute (1991) Festival Internazionale Cinema Giovani (1991) Hawaii International Film Festival (1991) Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (1991) Melbourne International Film Festival (1991) New York Film Festival (1991) Olympia Film Festival (1991) Seattle International Film Festival (1991) St Kilda Film Festival (1991) Sydney Film Festival (1991) Australian Teachers Of Media Inc (1992) Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (1992) Golden Gate Awards - San Francisco Film Society (1992) Hong Kong International Film Festival (1992) The International Animation Festival (1992) Ottawa International Animation Festival (1994) Tampere International Short Film Festival (1995) Valladolid International Film Festival (1996)

Puppenhead won the ATOM award for innovation, and was nominated for three Australian Film Institute Awards - best film in non-feature category, best sound in non-feature category and best editing in non-feature category.
Puppenhead was picked up by Canal+ in Spain.


Bureau of Inverse Technology
(1992, 7 mins, SD video, Betamax)

Written and Directed by David Cox and Bureau of Inverse Technology for SBS Television "Carpet Burns".
Starring: Natalie Jeremijenko et al, about acrobatic Cyberfeminist Trio who intersect boundaries: with technology and architecture.


Spiral USA
(1992, 30 mins, Super-8)

Record of film tour to west coast of USA and Canada in 1992, includes Lynne Sachs, Liz Canning, Craig Baldwin, Dirk De Bruyn. Shows pre-gentrified San Francisco Mission District underground film culture, Olympia Washington, Vancouver and Seattle 911 Media Arts Center.

 
 
Otherzone

Otherzone (1998, 15 mins, 35mm Dolby Surround Sound)

Otherzone is a science fiction film set in a near future Melbourne. The Machines All Nations Corporation (MAN) dominates global communication with its massive satellite network, which girdles the earth like a cage. The network is powerful enough to enable contact even with other dimensions. Kareen Hedding has been murdered by MAN security assassins for having passed on data on how to neutralise the network to her collaborators in the Information Liberation Frontier based on the moon. She has arranged for her daughter Zheng to retrieve the Ameth fabric from a beach. Ameth is a top secret artificial intelligence device, which uses the network to access the Otherzone - a whole new catagory of communications which has smashed the barriers between the dead and the living. Whomever has the Ameth scarf holds the key to global freedom, or global tyranny. Zheng must deliver the scarf to her mother's collaborators on the moon, but the evil Nam Melogue and his henchmen Cutts and Chickensticks are on her trail.

Producer Sarah Zadeh, Production Company Serpentine Films, Written and Directed by David Cox, Produced by Sarah Zadeh, Director of Photography Paul Romney Cox, Starring Marie Hoy as Zheng, Stelarc as Nam Melogue, Jaqueline Mitelman as Kareen, Max Fairchild as Cutts, Bruce Naylor as Chickensticks, Animation by Graeme Jackson, Marco Bresciani, Andrea Bresciani, and David Cox, Music by Ollie Olson, Sound Design and Dolby Surround Spatialisation by Philip Brophy, Edited by Jane Usher and Steve Doyle, Script edited by Adrian Martin.


 
 
Otherzone

XTRMN8mm (1998, 3 mins, 47 secs,, Super-8, B&W)

Starring: Simon Strong, who writes: " David Cox shot this (editing in camera) on his last reels of super 8 on a psychogeographic drift through the streets of Melbourne in August 1997. Watch out for shots of: Irving (Splodge Cinema) Gribbish's laboratory (see Blood Sugar Dropping: The Movie); The Monument to the Thing With No Name That Will Bind us Together; Bernard's Magic Shop; the Domed Reading Room; a subterranean public convenience; a Cameo by Heinz Boeck (the Nazi in Puppenhead); T.J. Harris's since-discharged gun shop and many more. I got home to find that Burroughs had died from a heart attack during filming. Sad but true". Soundtrack: "Demons of the Undergroove" post-synchronised.


ACTING::

The Saboteur in John Cumming’s Sabotage – Rusden Media Department, Victoria College Rusden Campus – 1982

Voice Talent Craig Baldwin’s Mock Up On Mu 2007 as Aleister Crowley.


OTHER PROJECTS:

Commercial Videogames 1992-1994:
I worked as a producer at Beam Software International, overseeing production of a number of commercial videogames for the then 16-bit console market. These included titles such as Blades of Vengeance for the Sega Genesis, Mechwarrior for the Super Nintendo as well as a conversion of the racing game Road Rash.


The Octapod
, Newcastle Electrofringe, 1999 Record of activity at the Newcastle Electrofringe festival, Newcastle NSW, Australia.


Time Ghosts
Screened at Fall 2010 Other Cinema “Avant to Live” Screened at Once It Started It Could Not End: Cut-Ups and Collage by Sears, Cox, Kennedy & Rosentrater November 14, 2011 on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7:30pm; Artists’ Television Access; 992 Valencia Street in San Francisco as part of San Francisco Cinemateque


The K-Wave
William Burroughs reads from the “Last words of Dutch Shutlz” Shown on 5/25 2010 as part of Other Cinema’s Avant to Live program. A rumination on the inter-dimensional nature of contemporary spectacular life.


 
 
Cosmonauts on the Moon

Creatures Gas Up on Moped Monday

TRT: 2:34 The Creatures of the Loin moped gang pulling into a gasoline station to refuel before their weekly Monday night ride, Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.

To Get Her (password: underground) 8:17 Collage-Essay About the Cold War and Anxieties that Surround a Man and His Life.


CCSF: Our Public Good
Directed by Molly Hankwitz Edited by David Cox. Documentary with interview with students of City College of San Francisco who benefit from it remaining a public institution.


A Secret History of Brisbane
, Directors: Molly Hankwitz, David Cox
A one off 7 minute documentary film commissioned in 2001 (narrated by John Flaus).


Urban Strechnology Toolkit, 2001
, Directors: Molly Hankwitz, David Cox, Archimedia Urban Strechnology Kit Archimedia - Molly Hankwitz, David Cox. The Urban Strechnology Kit is a set of small media devices which together form a kit which enables two people to become a 'micro-broadcasting' unit.


Alex Visits Occupy SF
Directed and Edited by David Cox. Melissa "Alex" Medel filmed by Cyrus Tabar as she visits Occupy San Francisco on November 4th 2011. There she meets with Diamond Dave who shows her around. She offers an impromptu karate class in exchange for yoga instruction. She visits the Occupy SF University as well as the organic food kitchen.


Rocket Opera Production For Other Cinema, 2014, 2015

 

Part 1 – Cosmonauts on the Moon, 2014 Cosmonauts on the Moon is a multiple screen music/video event that uses traditional orchestral instruments to tell the story of Natalija, a journalist for Pravda who has been given the job of reporting on the Russian Manned Moon program. Natalija is ordered by the Kremlin to interview engineer Mishin about the upcoming Manned Russian moon program for “Pravda”. She is told off the record about the problems with the N1 rocket, namely the instability of the booster system, reliant as it is on the 30 engines at its base, so many that failure in one will destroy the vehicle as a whole. She watches as (on the screens) each of the four attempts to launch an N1 fail; during the second launch attempt the N1 rocket crashed back onto its launch pad shortly after liftoff and explodes, resulting in one of the largest artificial non-nuclear explosions in human history. This 26 minute operetta was performed at Other Cinema on Saturday November 8th 2014.

Part 2: Lunar Modules, October 2015 “Lunar Modules” is an Original Mini-Opera staged at Artists Television Access Gallery (Other Cinema) “Lunar Modules” about the Apollo Moon Landings on October 17, 2015. Composer/Arranger David Cox “Lunar Modules” represents part two in David Cox’s three-part “Rocket Opera” in which here the events of the US Apollo/SaturnV landing on the moon are presented in audiovisual musical performance. Baritone John Smalley and Soprano Rachel Levin lead the Cox ensemble as the themes explore the existential, aesthetic and technical shapes, forms and ideas of 1960s cold war space-race USA. The focus is upon a German Rocket Engineer and a well known MIT female software engineer whose work on the DSKY navigation computer for the Apollo space program helped save the lives of the crews.


SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY:

CANTRILLS FILMNOTES ISSUE 59/60, SEPTEMBER 1989 PANORAMICON, notes on a film by David Cox 12

CANTRILLS FILMNOTES ISSUE 63/64 , DECEMBER 1990 TATLIN, David Cox writes on his film 54

"Storytelling: The Woodford Forum", in O’Regan, Tom, New Stories for a Digital Age pp 65-67
Edited by Bronwen Levy and Ffion Murphy API Network ISBN-13: 9780702232022

FILMNEWS
Review of Puppenhead Australia (MIFF 1996, Robotica) Director: David Cox "Set in Germany and New York in the thirties, it's about a puppeteer harassed by a Nazi spy. Cox doesn't waste the premise, but cleverly integrates live action and model animation in this strikingly ambitious black comedy that quotes from Metropolis and Caligari without being trite. Photographed in high contrast black and white, its images of violence and the psychological horror of its protagonist recall the work of the Brothers Quay". • Naomi Burley and Peter Calvin.

PHILIP BROPHY WEBSITE Comments about Otherzone by Philip Brophy (who was also the film’s sound designer)
"Otherzone is a short film based around ideas of speculative sci-fi, cyber-culture and techno-visions of a dystopian future. Written and directed by David Cox, it incorporates David's ideas along these lines and issues, culminating in a rhetorical/allegorical narrative. The film also experiments with contracted narrative form as inspired by computer games (a theoretical area in which David works and researches). Added to this is his early tests of how to intergrate computer imagery and computer generated sequences into a filmed environment."

SAN FRANCISCO CINEMATEQUE PROGRAM, 2011 Craig Baldwin on my film “Time Ghost” for the 2011 San Francisco CInemateque:

"The Third part of this media cut-up program is in fact informed by co-author of the The Third Mind himself (and also star of The Cut-Ups for that matter)—William S. Burroughs, as channeled by our own local mix-master David Cox. Mr. Cox, director of Otherzone (1998) and dozens of other short collage movies, is throwing down his own challenge to the space-time continuum with his Time Ghost (2010), an unapologetic assemblage of found material—fictional and non—that is dialectically synthesized into a larger, formalized critique of the Spectacle. Cox accelerates the simultaneously centripetal and centrifugal forces that characterize the program as a whole through crafty selection, positioning, and narrativization—a fearless re-mobilization of those phantoms of the horrible past into a digital-video puppet-show, in an argument against the so much more horrible present." - Craig Baldwin, November 2011

Book: Renegades: Australia's First Film School: From Swinburne to VCA, 1996 Paterson, Barbara ISBN-10: 0646234951
NB: My film “Puppenhead” and production process surrounding this film mentioned in this book.


© David Cox, July 2016.

David Cox's website

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Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis