Inside the Outside: A Profile of the Top Drawer Art Center takes a look at an innovative Rhode Island-based arts center serving the developmentally-disabled population. Understanding that the Top Drawer Art Center is a microcosm of the larger ‘outsider art’ movement, the film reflects on the artists’ place in society and in the art world at large. The immediacy of the artists’ work, their lack of self-consciousness around making it, and the experimental use of materials become a source of inspiration for the artists and the people around them. Three of the art center’s nationally-recognized artists Brian Lamora, Emmitt Estrada, and Katrina Cathcart are featured prominently. This film won 2nd place in the 2008 Providence Film Festival.
Insurgency of Ambition was conceived in the wake of short-lived US military successes in Iraq. Using the classic icon of victory—a Triumphal Arch—as a visual metaphor, the film questions the relevance of “victory” memes at the time of globalization. Operating on a more intimate level, it ponders the cost of unrestrained personal ambition.
The short opens with Zeus’s allegorical transformation into a Triumphal Arch, during which Athena violently erupts from his head. Athena’s association with both wisdom and war is oxymoronic, for what kind of wisdom is armed with weapons? She is Zeus’s mind disease, a chimera of conquest, all too eagerly revered and induced by the mortals. Infected by the idea of outward success, the main character is lured toward the Triumphal Arch, only to face its true, frightening nature as he gets within reach.