M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents
Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
(directed by Matt Wolf; 2019; 87 mins)
Film Screening + Discussion with director Matt Wolf
Tue February 25, 2020 @4.30pm
Princeton University – School of Architecture – Betts Auditorium
For over 30 years, Marion Stokes obsessively and privately recorded American television news twenty-four hours a day. A civil rights-era radical who became fabulously wealthy and reclusive later in life, her obsession started with the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979—at the dawn of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012, as the Sandy Hook massacre played on television while Marion passed away. In between, Marion filled 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows and commercials that show us how television shaped the world of today and in the process tell us who we were.
A mystery in the form of a time capsule, Recorder delves into the strange life of a woman for whom home taping was a form of activism to protect the truth (the public didn’t know it, but the networks had been disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history) and though her visionary and maddening project nearly tore her family apart, her extraordinary legacy is as priceless as her story is remarkable.
Matt Wolf is an award-winning filmmaker in New York whose feature documentaries include Wild Combination, about the cult cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell and Teenage, about early youth culture and the birth of teenagers. His new film Spaceship Earth about the controversial Biosphere 2 experiment is premiering at Sundance 2020. Matt’s short films include I Remember, about the artist and poet Joe Brainard, Time Magazine’s The Face of AIDS about a controversial Benetton advertisement, and Bayard & Me, about the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. He is also the director of HBO’s It’s Me, Hilary and is the co-curator of film for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. He is a Guggenheim Fellow.