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.

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




Taking its title from a poem by Paul Celan (translated as “sleeping den”), this montage is the result of a script that reconfigures over two hundred lines of English subtitles, lifted from films ranging from Battleship Potemkin and Persona, to The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant. The disconcerting soliloquy on love and insomnolence is deliberately attempted in the original French, German, Russian, Italian, and Swedish.

Search Olga Gold

Originally part of a larger sculptural installation using prospector's tools, this tape reenacts the search for "Olga," a miner's wife who disappeared on her honeymoon in 1936. As Paul and Marlene Kos call out, "Olga... Olga...", the camera scans the Wyoming wilderness, and their search becomes ritualistic, the repetitive calls building in intensity and breaking down into chanted moans.

Seattle: Hidden Histories

A series of one-minute interview-based spots Martha Rosler made with the American Indian community during her residence in Seattle from 1991 to 1995. Rosler reveals lost languages, unrecognized tribes, and the experiences of contemporary Native Americans living not on reservations but in the city.


A Second Quarter is decidedly European; the “place” (Berlin) is the catalyst for the “action” (the work). The works recited in the film are concerned with barriers and borders, physical and geophysical phenomena. The characters also translate, count, and recite the alphabet. They build a narrative that is not a story to be followed dogmatically but rather a pattern from which to extract one’s version of what is seen.

Secrets from the Street: No Disclosure

Reading the billboards, the cars, the people, and the graffiti of the street as cultural signs, Rosler extracts the network of social power and domination that determines whose culture gets represented where, asking whose culture is reported in the press and whose is forced to exist in the street?

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.

Selected Works: Reel 2

Re-mastered in 2005, Reel 2 features a series of demonstrations and durational tests: how to protect oneself from germs; how to turn a roll call into a role play; and an excruciating exercise in desire, as Man Ray attempts to get his just rewards. While entertaining, these humorous pieces also parody television culture and work to highlight issues of consumerism.


Sanforized, 0:47

Coin Toss, 2:11

Monkey Business, 1:06

Same Shirt, 0:32

Selected Works: Reel 3

The works on Reel 3 were produced during 1972-73, and re-mastered in 2005 when several newly available titles were added. The focus here is on social relationships and attaining the perfect life, be it through making the right decision, getting something for nothing, or just having it all. Many of the comic skits parody television ads and infomercials, and Man Ray has to make some consumer choices.

Selected Works: Reel 4

A newly re-mastered collection of 22 comedic performances to camera, produced during 1973-74. Absurd stories mix with word play; product demonstrations extol the virtues of a specially modified cocktail tray or canine selling aid; and throughout it all, Man Ray. May Ray woken by an alarm clock, tormented by paper-throwing and map-reading, and ever attempting to understand his master.


Wake Up, 1:33

Trip Across Country, 0:50

Down Time, 0:36

Laundromat, 0:43

Selected Works: Reel 5

A newly re-mastered collection of 17 vignettes and performances to camera, produced during 1974-75. Some use props and sight gags to preposterous effect; others star Man Ray, lapping milk from a glass, stopping marbles and dropping balls. Many of the pieces feature off-screen dialogue, including a comparison of the differences between audio- and videotape, and video and film.


Nocturne, 7:49

Stalking, 2:06

Audio Tape and Video Tape, 2:04

Dancing Tape, 5:27

Selected Works: Reel 6

Originally recorded during 1975-76 and re-mastered in March 2005, this selection of 11 skits mostly focuses on Man Ray. Wegman appears to test his faithful friend, continually throwing a ball for him to catch even after the dog loses enthusiasm; playing with a cardboard tube which intermittently emits a loud sound recording, alternately attracting and repelling the dog; pulling a cord attached to his leg while making him “stay”. Wegman also take a leap into the world of color with special effects and a monolog about furniture. Includes:

Selected Works: Reel 7

Originally made during 1976-77 and re-mastered in March 2005, this selection contains a mix of visual jokes, conceptual humor and performance. Wegman "dialogs" with himself, close-ups of his mouth and teeth taking on different characteristics and voices; remakes of earlier black and white performances; and man and dog in focus, including a failed attempt to induce Man Ray to smoke.

Alarm Clock, 0:30

Doctor Patient, 2:20

Bad Movies, 2:00

Drop, 0:43

Fruit, 0:25

Smoking, 1:55

Horseshoes, 1:10

Fast, 0:15

Concerto, 1:20

Semiotics of the Kitchen

From A to Z in this mock cooking-show demonstration Rosler 'shows and tells' the ingredients of the housewife's day. She offers an inventory of tools that names and mimics the ordinary with movements more samurai than suburban. Rosler's slashing gesture as she forms a letter of the alphabet in the air with a knife and fork is a rebel gesture, punching through the 'system of harnessed subjectivity' from the inside out.

"I was concerned with something like the notion of 'language speaking the subject', and with the transformation of the woman herself into a sign in a system of signs that represent a system of food production, a system of harnessed subjectivity."

— Martha Rosler