Gender

1998
Orlan: An Interview

French performance artist Orlan uses her own body as a sculptural medium. Since 1990, she has worked on La Reincarnation de Sainte-Orlan, a process of plastic surgeries that she “performs,” making elaborate spectacles with surgeons dressed in sci-fi costumes and broadcasting the operations live via satellite to galleries worldwide. By exploring a total transformation of self, Orlan delves into issues of identity and the malleability of the flesh. She lives and works in Paris, exhibiting and performing internationally.

Interview by Shay Degrandis, via translator.

1976
Out of the Body Travel

A "young woman who finds herself surrounded by the relics of Western culture" is the subject of Richard Foreman's formal tableaux. The narration centers on a young woman's struggle to find a relation between her body and her self as mediated by language. The text is a poetry of formal relations that carries personal and historical implications, including the desires of the woman paradoxically voiced by a male narrator. The title suggests the vivid virtuality of dreaming; scenes repeatedly refer to both reading and sleeping.

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. 

1974
The Politics of Intimacy

The setting for The Politics of Intimacy recalls the widespread consciousness-raising (CR) groups in the late '60s and early '70s inspired by the emerging feminist movement. CR groups provided a forum to openly and collectively validate women's otherwise private experiences. In the tape Dr. Sherfy, one of the first doctors to write about female sexuality, and nine women of different ages, sexual preferences, and economic and social situations discuss their sexual experiences.

1980
Pop-Pop Video: Kojak/Wang

Pop-Pop Video: Kojak/Wang takes a shootout from Kojak and extends the shot and counter-shot into a potentially endless battle. In the original TV fragment, images, gestures and actions rebound off one another like the echoes of repeated bursts of gunfire. Birnbaum compares gunfire with the beams of laser light from a computer in a Wang commercial, connecting destruction and violence with the products of advancing technology.

1973

This eight-minute video is part experimental video art, part sketch comedy routine, and part informational lesson on the advantages and disadvantages of owning Sony's latest video technology. In it, David and Carol participate in a brilliantly theatrical, seemingly improvisational conversation, in which each one adopts the specific identity and perspective associated with a particular video technology: David plays the part of the Sony Camera AVC 3400, while Carol takes on the personality of the Sony Portapak AV3400.

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.

2015
Cecelia Condit, Pulling Up Roots

Pulling Up Roots is the emotional journey of a woman who is navigating the tenuous strain between the past and the future.

Filmed in an abandoned housing project in Western Ireland, she uproots exotic plants and flowers, as one might collect stories and memories one can’t understand. Condit’s operatic songs and childlike rhymes give a sense of naiveté and strength that comes from her solitude. From a playful skip around the yard, to a moment where profound sadness gives way to unexpected laughter, she explores an entire lifetime of emotions in mere minutes.

 

2007
Purify

Purify shows a disconnected women washing herself in blood.

2008
Putting the Balls Away

Putting the Balls Away is a reenactment of the historic September 21, 1973, tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, created for broadcast on the 35th anniversary of the original event. The Battle of the Sexes was the most-watched live sporting event at that time, and pitted chauvinist against feminist, when women tennis players demanded equal pay to that of their male counterparts. Both players are performed by Mateik, whose work wages strategic operations to overthrow institutions of compulsory gender. After each game the competitors "switch sides".

1993
Queens on the Media Scene, Glenn Belverio

In Queens on the Media Scene, East Village drag queen Linda Simpson (of My Comrade zine) joins Glennda to discuss the explosion of drag in the mainstream media, and the pair interview passers-by on the streets of Midtown Manhattan. They discuss the rising acceptance of drag in the mainstream, in part due to the media presence of RuPaul; the potential taming of drag or its normalization; and an ambition to preserve the more taboo aspects of drag expression in the face of increasing popularization.

1971
Remote Control

Two performers, Acconci and a young woman, occupy two wooden boxes in separate rooms, connected via monitor, camera, and microphone. The situation is symbolic of a vicarious and distended power relation, a relationship built through and reliant upon technological mediation. Watching her on a monitor, Acconci coaches the woman through tying herself up, urging her to pretend he is winding the rope around her legs and neck.

2001
Tom Rubnitz Videoworks: Sexy, Wiggy, Desserty

Until his untimely death from AIDS in 1992, Tom Rubnitz produced short, humourous videotapes featuring some of New York’s most outrageously talented musicians, artists and drag queens. Influenced by mass media entertainment, Rubnitz crafted hilarious videos which simultaneously celebrated and parodied pop culture’s bountiful energy and inventiveness. As Tom said, “I wanted to make things beautiful, funny and positive—escapes that you could just get into and laugh through. That was really important to me.

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.

1991
Seize Control of the Taj Mahal, Glenn Belverio

In this episode of The Brenda and Glennda Show, Brenda and Glennda lead a group of drag queens on a trip to Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Intended to be a drag queen gambling getaway and a public stage for drag visibilty, the trip turns into a moment of protest and reflection incited by homophobic discrimination. The group is kicked out of the gambling area for supposedly wearing excessive makeup and inapprorpiate, flashy attire — somehow unlike and worse than that of the casino's showgirls and other heavily powdered female patrons.