Pixelvision

1995
Barbie's Audition

Gibbons plays the sleazy Director and lampoons the movie audition and its legendary corollary, the casting couch. Barbie is recast, not as the impossible-to-attain ideal beauty, but as the victim of sexual harrassment and exploitation.

This title is also available on Joe Gibbons Videoworks: Volume 1.

1998
Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 1

A compilation of five of Sadie Benning’s early works. In Jollies, Benning gives a chronology of her crushes and kisses, tracing the development of her nascent sexuality. Addressing the camera with an air of seduction and romance, Benning allows the viewer a sense of her anxiety and delight as she comes to realize her lesbian identity. In If Every Girl Had a Diary, Benning trains her pixelvision camera on herself and her room, searching for a sense of identity and respect as a woman and a lesbian.

1999
Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 2

Volume 2 includes the pixelvision works made in 1992: A Place Called Lovely, It Wasn't Love, and Girlpower. A Place Called Lovely references the types of violence individuals find in life, from explicit beatings, accidents, and murders to the more insidious violence of lies, social expectations, and betrayed faith. Benning collects images of this socially-pervasive violence from a variety of sources, tracing events from childhood—movies, tabloids, children's games (like mumbledy-peg)—personal experiences, and those of others.

1999
Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 3

A collection of three remarkable works by Sadie Benning, produced between 1995 and 1998, including German Song, The Judy Spots, and Flat is Beautiful. Shot in black and white Super-8 film, German Song muses on a disengaged youth and grey afternoons spent wandering, and features the hard-edged music of Come, an alternative band from Boston.

1991
Coal Miner's Granddaughter

Shot primarily in Fisher-Price pixelvision, for the “murky look of memory," Coal Miner’s Granddaughter is a profoundly moving family portrait focusing on the youngest daughter Jane, as she leaves her Pennsylvania home and finds sexual independence in San Francisco. This semi-autobiographical narrative is remarkable for Dougherty’s unconventional approach: working with non-professional, plain-looking actors and improvised dialogue to recreate the life of the “average” family, and women who are “Plain Janes with big desires.”

1998
Cecilia Dougherty Videoworks: Volume 1

A compilation of two videos that wittily explore counter-cultural identity through lesbian portrayals of iconic stars: in this case, the Beatles and British playwright Joe Orton.

1991
Elegy

It’s the first day of autumn, and Gibbons can already smell death in the air. Leading us and his dog Woody on a walk through a cemetery, Gibbons voices his obsessive thoughts of death and destruction saying, “I want to be a leaf; I want to fall from a great height and crush whatever I land on.” Waxing weirdly philosophical, Gibbons satirically tries to impress the concept of mortality on his dog; the video, shot in Pixelvision, approximates his dog’s black-and-white vision.

2001
Final Exit

In Final Exit, an aged one is confronted with his options in blunt terms. Does he want to drag out his existence, increasingly infirm and a burden to his caretakers, or go quietly before resentment overwhelms sentiment? Does he wish to go on living, the quality of his life increasingly diminishing, or be euthanized? Would he prefer cremation or burial? This video confronts the issues of mortality and advancing decrepitude that faces even the friskiest.

1998
Flat is Beautiful

Flat is Beautiful is an experimental live-action cartoon using masks, animation, subtitles, drawings, and dramatic scenes to investigate the psychic life of an androgynous eleven-year-old girl. Growing up in a working class neighborhood with her single mother and gay roommate, Taylor confronts the loneliness of living between masculine and feminine in a culture obsessed with defining gender difference. Shifting between black and white film and grainy pixelvision video, Flat is Beautiful explores the internal and external worlds of sad people.

1992
Girl Power

Set to music by Bikini Kill (an all-girl band from Washington), Sadie Benning's Girl Power is a raucous vision of what it means to be a radical girl in the 1990s. Benning relates her personal rebellion against school, family, and female stereotypes as a story of personal freedom, telling how she used to model like Matt Dillon and skip school to have adventures alone. Informed by the underground “riot grrrl” movement, this tape transforms the image politics of female youth, rejecting traditional passivity and polite compliance in favor of radical independence and a self-determined sexual identity.

1991
Glass Jaw

In this impressionistic piece, O’Reilly provides a gripping portrait of personal trauma, while detailing the severe mental and physical confusion following two incidents. In April of 1991, O'Reilly broke his jaw in a biking accident, and in July of that same year he was assaulted and had to undergo brain surgery as a result. The video is breathtaking, as O’Reilly narrates the painful story of his recovery, his problems with Public Aid, and his daily adjustment to pain.

1994
His Master's Voice

Gibbons presents a Son of Sam-like relationship between a man and his dog in which the man takes the dog to task for the terrible things he has made him do. Shot in Pixelvision.

This title is also available on Joe Gibbons Videoworks: Volume 1.

1990
If Every Girl Had a Diary

Setting her pixelvision camera on herself and her room, Benning searches for a sense of identity and respect as a woman and a lesbian. Acting alternately as confessor and accuser, the camera captures Benning’s anger and frustration at feeling trapped by social prejudices.

This title is also available on Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 1.

1992
It Wasn't Love

Benning illustrates a lustful encounter with a “bad girl,” through the gender posturing and genre interplay of Hollywood stereotypes: posing for the camera as the rebel, the platinum blonde, the gangster, the '50s crooner, and the heavy-lidded vamp. Cigarette poses, romantic slow dancing, and fast-action heavy metal street shots propel the viewer through the story of the love affair. Benning’s video goes farther than romantic fantasy, describing other facets of physical attraction including fear, violence, lust, guilt and total excitement.

1993
Joe-Joe

Taking queer artistic license, Dougherty and Leslie Singer together portray a gay male playwright who took 1960s London by storm. The result is a witty play on narcissism and split personality that captures the banality of stardom while paying tribute to promiscuity and transgression. Filmed in black and white pixelvision and color video, this tape continues Dougherty’s exploration of counter-culture identity through lesbian portrayal, the same ingenious bait-and-switch device seen at work in the lesbian portrayal of the Beatles in her earlier tape, Grapefruit.