Sister City channels moments of paradoxical experience—of being a superhero or being for sale—into reverberant conduits, articulating a nature divided by panes of glass or suspended in watery solitudes. Each shift begets a kind of origin story: one encounter traces the specific azure of a James Turrell installation to a pet shop jellyfish, in another, a modern-day putto purifies a horrific tale by blowing bubbles in a tub. Sister City, like water, seeks its own level; cresting and displacing continuous bursts of life, spiritualized, succulent, and ultimately alone.
"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances" wrote Oscar Wilde. Lay Bare is a composite portrait of the human body, revealing it as it is only rarely seen in the most intimate relationships we have with our family or our lovers -- erotic and comic, beautiful and vulnerable.
Ecstasy Unlimited is an engaging video essay on the social construction of sexuality. Kipnis attempts to historicize pleasure and politicize desire, to reveal within the current discourse on sex — and within an ensemble of current sexual practices — the production of forms of sexuality that work to guarantee social order, rather than subvert it. Through various narrative ploys and theoretical tactics, the tape attempts to recover traces of a "political unconscious" in contemporary social malaise.
Wojtasik's Nine Gates explores the possibility of transcendence through sexual passion: averting the gaze from the objectification of the other, the female body or the obscure enemy, to the vast and microscopic details of the body unknown to the viewer, becoming a meditation on love beyond definition.
The work of Dani Leventhal explores the complicated space that exists between decay and renewal, intimacy and disconnection and the sacred and mundane. The six pieces that comprise Dani Leventhal Videoworks: Volume 1 each examine these ambiguous emotional and psychic spaces through a use of montage that is at once both unstructured and dispassionate and lyrically sentimental.
Video Data Bank is proud to present the wonderful work of prolific video artist Ximena Cuevas in our latest DVD box set, Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas. This four volume box set features 25 videos by the award-winning artist, spanning 21 years, and is accompanied by a 75-page booklet containing the following essays that examine aspects of Cuevas’s work:
The Colors that Combine to Make White are Important explores the power structure within a failing Japanese glass factory. Two parallel story lines involving the investigation of a suspected employee and that of a stolen painting converge to reveal an exposition on gender and desire.
Lesser Apes tells the story of a love affair between a primatologist, Farrah, and a female bonobo ape, Meema. Bonobos are the species with which humans share the most DNA, but unlike our species, they are matriarchal, live without conflict, and are unabashedly sexual. A paean to perversion, the film combines animation, live action and song to challenge attitudes about sex, language and our relationship to nature.
Community Action Center is a 69-minute sociosexual video by A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner which incorporates the erotics of a community where the personal is not only political, but sexual. This project was heavily inspired by porn-romance-liberation films, such as works by Fred Halsted, Jack Smith, James Bidgood, Joe Gage and Wakefield Poole, which served as distinct portraits of the urban inhabitants, landscapes and the body politic of a particular time and place.
An homage to the death of the soap opera, The Evil Eyes is a 1960's era story of a grandmother faced with her mortality, a mother in mid-life crisis, and a son realizing his sexuality - a dysfunctional family whose unspoken angst manifests in the latest episode of their beloved supernatural soap opera, Before Dawn.
This first program deals with stories of captivity. To start, Hostage: The Bachar Tapes by Walid Raad presents us with an imagined hostage presumably held in custody along with the American hostages in Lebanon during the 1980’s. Raad’s work reflects on the invention and communication of stories about abduction, insisting on the families’ unity in the face of threats, and reads through the fears and sexual fantasies of the kidnapped Americans who are held in the same cell with a Lebanese man.