Body

1985
Perils

Perils is a homage to silent film—the clash of ambiguous innocence and unsophisticated villainy—dramatizing the theatrical postures of melodrama to confront and examine our ideas of romance, action, and drama. Child says, “I had long conceived of a film composed only of reaction shots in which all causality was erased. What would be left would be the resonant voluptuous suggestions of history and the human face.” Charles Noyes and Christian Marclay constructed the sound montage from Warner Brothers cartoons and improvisations. 

1988
Portrait of Christophe In Mind

This lyrical piece celebrates the male body simply and elegantly. Its subject, Christophe, is exquisitely portrayed by the sepia-toned balletic video. Three men dressed in overcoats dance in and out of the frame in front of a mostly stationary camera. Occasionally they open or partially remove the overcoats to display beautifully sculpted male bodies.

2003
Poster Girl

As if trapped inside a nightmare, the main protagonist of Poster Girl is haunted by disturbing visions, thoughts and fantasies, which the viewer is privy to. She is joined at various points in the video by another woman, whose role in the narrative remains unclear – is she meant to function as a guardian or a demon? The video further complicates the matter by representing both women as simultaneously wounded and wounding, inviting and threatening, vulnerable and menacing.

1981
Prefaces

Prefaces is composed of wild sounds constructed along entropic lines, placed tensely beside bebop rhythms, and a resurfacing narrative cut from a dialogue with poet Hannah Weiner. Child tells us, “The tracks are placed in precise and asynchronous relation to images of workers, the gestures of the marketplace, colonial Africa, and abstractions, to pose questions of social force, gender relations and subordination.” This tape serves as a pre-conscious preface to the parts that follow, whose scope and image bank are more narrowly defined.

1980
Primal Scenes

Over grainy, black and white images of a woman giving birth, Montano reads the story of a nun’s sexual self-discovery—recounting Sister Joan’s growing awareness of her body’s sensuousness and sexuality. Primal Scenes is an excellent example of women’s erotica, focusing on a woman’s experience of her body as both sexually powerful and deeply mysterious.

2007
Pyramids/Skunk

Netherlands, January 29th 2006/January 29th 2007

Hamas have just won the Palestinian elections and a chocolate bar in a Rotterdam hotel room eventually reminds the filmmaker that there are more important things going on in the world outside. Exactly one year later he returns to the same city and checks in at a very different hotel. Pyramids/Skunk is a double episode in the Hotel Diaries series, a collection of video recordings made in the world’s hotel rooms, which relate personal experiences and reflections to contemporary conflicts in the Middle East.

2010
Detail, Avi Mograbi

Border situations have inspired writers, artists and filmmakers, particularly within the context of divisions and border control within the Middle East. Who draws the borders? What are the effects of imposing them, of imposing checkpoints? This program looks at border situations. In the works presented here, we take a close look at the lines of demarcation, observing what happens on borders in divided Lefkosia (Nicosia), the occupied territories in Palestine, and at the excavation of the site of a former border in Lebanon which no longer exists.

2010
Intensive Care, Hatice Güleryüz

Named after Hatice Güleryüz’s haunting short film, with its disturbing yet iconic images, this program presents unsettling situations narrated with both considerable emotional investment and critical distance. In her work Intensive Care, Güleryüz films a boy’s circumcision, then tilt’s up to the boy’s silent, angelic face. In another work, The First Ones, she films a group of school children singing the national anthem; a take on nationalism made with so much love.

2010
Birthday Suit with scars and defects, Lisa Steele

How useful is personal testimony to History? The most abstract of all the works that focus on personal narrative in this program is certainly Lisa Steele’s Birthday Suit with scars and defects, in which the artist gently caresses every scar on her body, names it, dates it, and describes the circumstances in which the scar was inscribed. These are traces that defy memory, and that indeed become an alternative memory. Steele’s video presents us with an abstraction of oneself, almost a schema of the body as it becomes a register of violence.

1968
Revolving Upside Down

The inverted camera catches Nauman standing at the end of the room, slowly spinning around on one foot, first head down in one direction, then head up in the other direction. The tape seems to be as much a trial of Nauman’s endurance as an exercise in becoming a human machine, some type of cog or mechanized weather vane.

2008
Kevin Jerome Everson, Ring

Ring attempts to exhibit the “sweet science” of boxing in an elegant way.

This title is only available on Broad Daylight and Other Times: Selected Works of Kevin Jerome Everson.

2011
Ben Russell, River Rites

“Animists are people who recognise that the world is full of persons, some of whom are human, and that life is always lived in relationship with others.”

-- Graham Harvey, Animism

Trance dance and water implosion, a kino-line drawn between secular freak-outs and religious phenomena. Filmed in a single take at a sacred site on the Upper Suriname River, the minor secrets of a Saramaccan animist's everyday are revealed as time itself is undone. Rites are the new Trypps -- embodiment is our eternal everything.

2001
River Sky

Three people are taken for a short ride on the River Thames hanging upside down on the back of a speedboat. The journey is both a test of endurance and a simple way of forcing people to see differently. Upon reflection, the participants talk about their childhood and the places where they used to like to play and hang out. The very nature of the event leads the participants to remember and think about themselves and the ways they have changed.

2012
Hester Scheurwater Videoworks: Volume 2

In her overt challenge to conventional modes of femininity and sexuality, Hester Scheurwater confronts the viewer with her own body. The distorted, doll-like characters she plays in her video performances balance between fantasy and reality shifting between being vulnerable, violent, inviting and threatening. Scheurwater's characters are portrayed as isolated, confused and damaged—physically and emotionally—and unable to connect to their surroundings. Scheurwater’s provocative and unsettling works address relationships, notions of decorum, and the portrayal of women in the media.

2004
Hester Scheurwater Videoworks: Volume 1

These five short videos examine the relationship between the female body and the camera’s gaze.

“In Scheurwater’s universe, there is hardly any room left for human warmth. The only living being that evokes a sense of pity is a dog. And the only hope that remains is the camera itself, feverishly searching for compassion in the remnants of decay.” 

-- Stan van Herpen