Described as a key figure of the Pictures Generation, filmmaker Ericka Beckman often uses games as structuring devices in films and videos that combine minimalist and punk aesthetics. Alongside her own body of work, Beckman has collaborated with many important artists and filmmakers, including Mike Kelley.
The first of two collaborations with Kelley, The Broken Rule (1979) is a “poetic transcription” of Jean Piaget’s theory of learning. In the film, Kelley performs the tension of assimilation, failing his team at various track and field contests that are metaphors for socialization. Beckman conceptualized the film’s ending specifically for Kelley’s character, a chanted question asking “if everybody does it, will it become a real rule or not.”
“It was a beautiful coming together of two people who had the same sensibility, communicating and achieving everything that was needed,” says Beckman. “Mike Kelley’s performance ascribed to me a kind of style of shooting.”