Literature

2000
Third Known Nest by Tom Kalin

"Third Known Nest is a collection of nine short works completed approximately one per year from 1991 to 1999. Interwoven with nine quotations from some of my favorite writers, the eighteen short entries in Third Known Nest function as an intimate visual diary—fractured pictures from my day-to-day life. I carried a Super-8 camera with me whenever and wherever I traveled, and also at home—just running errands or in the garden. I shot nearly a hundred fifty-foot reels of film.

1998
Cecilia Dougherty, Laurie

Laurie was inspired by Laurie Weeks’ uncanny ability to simultaneously embody her characters and write them from a clear distance. The text in question is just a few paragraphs from a draft of the novel Zipper Mouth, more than ten years in the making, and published by the Feminist Press.

1999

Letter to a missing woman, based partly on memories of someone who has been a political fugitive since 1983, combines documentary "evidence" and fiction in an imaginative reconstruction of public documents and private history. This is a quiet, obsessive piece addressing the human costs and repercussions of re-inventing oneself – one’s body, memories, and future – as a living piece of propaganda. The writer/narrator of this "crazy letter" is an unreliable one, a composite of half-truths, paranoid digressions, and feelings of loss.

1997
The Litter Box

A tour of literary scraps that litter the highway of lost souls in search of publications to be publicized. The crush of printed pulp as it smears its way through the various media that feed off its symbols and excesses. The lust of writers made pure by the whiteness of the sheets they imprint with the shadow markings of their Smith-Corona contraption as it keeps pounding late into the night.

1997
Mauve Desert: A CD-ROM Translation

Based upon the novel Le Desert Mauve by Quebeçoise author Nicole Brossard, Mauve Desert, a CD-ROM road movie, was five years in the making. Shot on film and video, framed by original graphics and creative programming structures, and performed in three languages, Mauve Desert finds its voice in the driver's seat (of a computer). Mélanie is a fifteen year-old girl who steals her mother’s Meteor every chance she gets and drives away from her mother’s lover Lorna and toward the dawn.

1990
Me and Rubyfruit

Based on a novel by Rita Mae Brown, Me and Rubyfruit chronicles the enchantment of teenage lesbian love against a backdrop of pornographic images and phone sex ads. Benning portrays the innocence of female romance and the taboo prospect of female marriage.

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

1999
Moby Richard

Psychologically disturbed Professor Herville (Joe Gibbons) analyzes the literary classic Moby Dick. He gives a tour of the Herman Melville Museum and makes much ado about the book’s Oedipial themes. Breer mixes in footage of the Hollywood adaptation starring Gregory Peck and her own irrepressible animation.

This title is also available on Emily Breer: Classics Exposed.

2012
Morel's Yellow Pages, Filipa César

Morel's Yellow Pages focuses on secretive and destructive actions and image making. The title references The Invention of Morel (1940), Adolfo Bioy Casares’s science fiction novel, which informs the work. The artist brings together her research into the use of Baltra Island as an air base for the US army during World War II, and aerial surveillance photographs of the islands, using film footage, documents, and factual information collected during her trip to the Galápagos. Morel's Yellow Pages interweaves fact and fiction, covert and imagined activities.

2007

In this interview, American writer, artist, performer Eileen Myles (b.1949) discusses the various philosophies that motivate her work, including the language of film, embodied performance, and the alienation evoked by bodily vulgarity. Myles links her wide range of artistic and literary practice with notions of abstraction, improvisation, and the mythology of gender, which she explores in relation to her own identity as a working, middle-class lesbian woman. She reflects on the significance of geographical locations, both New York City and San Diego, on her art, and shares how her past struggles with addiction have shaped her life and practice.

2015
Notes on Gesture

Inspired by a riff on a popular joke “Everybody wanna be a black woman but nobody wanna be a black woman,” Notes On Gesture is a video comparing authentic and dramatic gestures. The piece uses the 17th Century text Chirologia: Or the Natural Language of the Hand as a guide to create an inventory of gestures for performance. The piece alternates between title cards proposing hypothetical situations and short, looping clips that respond. The actor uses her body to quote famous, infamous, and unknown women.

2000
ONE (Jane Bowles)

“We each have only one single life which is our real life, starting at the cradle and ending at the grave. I warn Dorothy every time I see her that if she doesn’t watch out, her life is going to be left aching and starving on the side of the road and she’s going to get to her grave without it. The farther a man follows the rainbow, the harder it is for him to get back to the life which he left starving like an old dog.”

—Jane Bowles, “Plain Pleasures” in My Sister’s Hand in Mine (New York: Ecco Press, 1978)

2008
The Passage Clock: For Walter Benjamin

An homage to Walter Benjamin and other time-traveling artists and expatriates that have inspired me, especially Chris Marker. Benjamin, fleeing from fascism in the 1930s, took refuge in Paris where Biblioteque Nacional became his home away from home.

2003
Pictures from Dorothy

Pictures from Dorothy is a current day consideration of the symbolism of Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz.

Cast: Matilda Washington. Music: David Reid.

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

2003
The Problem of Possible Redemption

A video adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses shot at the Parkville Senior Center, Connecticut, with the seniors reading the lines from cue cards. The piece addresses society, war, and personal mortality.

2002
The Robots of Sodom

"Sodom — for those of you who haven’t been there — is an island about ten miles in length by about two miles in width. There is no depth to it at all. It was built by men as a memorial to God, much the same reasons that I am writing this…  to praise and fulfill Him because they had heard He was dead and because His work had apparently come to nothing. The great buildings of Sodom are shaped like tombstones, and the island is populated almost entirely by robots. Man created the robots in his own image, and he created the island in the image of a cemetery.