Lost Book Found

Jem Cohen &

The result of over five years of Super-8 and 16mm filming on New York City streets, Lost Book Found melds documentary and narrative into a complex meditation on city life. The piece revolves around a mysterious notebook filled with obsessive listings of places, objects, and incidents. These listings serve as the key to a hidden city: a city of unconsidered geographies and layered artifacts – the relics of low-level capitalism and the debris of countless forgotten narratives.

The project stems from the filmmaker's first job in New York – working as a pushcart vendor on Canal Street. As usual, Cohen shot in hundreds of locations using unobtrusive equipment and generally without any crew. Influenced by the work of Walter Benjamin, Cohen created an archive of undirected shots and sounds, then set out to explore the boundary between genres. During the process, Cohen said, »I found connections between the street vendor, Benjamin's 'flaneur', and my own work as an observer and collector of ephemeral street life.«
Source: website vdb: Jem Cohen - Lost Book Found

About the video

Title Lost Book Found
Year 1996
Videonale VIDEONALE.7
Length 00:37:00
Format 4:3
Country USA,
Language English
Courtesy the artist, Video Data Bank und Lux
Specifications b/w, color, sound, Super 8 & 16mm film, single-channel video
Winner of Videonale Award

About the artist

Jem Cohen
  • 1962 in Kabul, AFG.
    Studied at the Wesleyan University Middletown, Connecticut, USA