Sexuality

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.

Torn over the pressure to perform for his audience, Acconci fantasizes about "a dancing bear" who takes his place, performing in the spotlight, doing what others want, "what I always had to do."  The viewer is placed in the position of an authority or analyst, above Acconci’s head, listening to his hallucination.  This fantasy becomes increasingly erotic as Acconci unburdens himself psychologically and reveals his contradictory need to control and to be controlled.

This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.

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.

"Conspiracy Of Lies speaks of the alienation of minorities, of consumer culture, urban isolation and the fine balance between mental order and chaos. The video begins with a voice (my own) recounting the story of the discovery of a series of diary entries and lists written by an anonymous author. When I found the texts, I assumed the author to be a white, gay man, like myself. Through the use of twelve narrators of different race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, I attempted to destabilize my own subjectivity and challenge my pre-existing assumptions regarding difference.

Couch, 1994

From the point of view of the psychoananlyst's chair, we witness images that place us implicitly within the scene. The images depict two embracing men, and suggest a complex and ambiguous web of associations. The embrace is both erotic and tender, and invites questions about power relationships. The pain of love and possible rejection is exposed through the flash of a naked leg, or the vulnerability of a fleeting expression.

Crush, 1997

Crush is the story of a man who wants to turn into an animal as told by the man himself, and one or two observers. He employs a variety of techniques to transform himself into a beast, including cutting off parts of his body, exercising, swimming; he wants to return to the water, to speed up evolution a little. Has he gone mad, or is he just tired of being human? As the narrator descends into private obsessions, we begin to perceive the distorted outlines of reason which guide his descent.

Cuerpos de Papel is a dense visual meditation on sexuality, loss, jealousy and intimacy. It uses rich sensual images to weave a digital portrait of an intimate, erotic, and emotional past. As the images transform, we are left with a slippery sense of intangibility and delicacy.

This title is also available on Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas.

Distracted Blueberry follows a performance art band through a series of poetic encounters. Masculine tropes are undone to form a relationship between male sexuality and the human death drive. The body, violence and humour are positioned in the larger context of nothingness and somethingness, bridging a tension between externalized anxieties and the terrors of nature. Evocative of inner emotional states, strange landscapes exist as reflections of our shared dreams and nightmares.

Viewer discretion advised 

Blumenthal constructs a loose narrative around the sexual evolution of a woman (played by Yvonne Rainer) through a stunning collage of images appropriated from TV and film. Certain images come to dominate this effusive stream—tall buildings, sex scenes, an Elvis movie, the courtroom, fireworks. Doublecross pits the indeterminate, disruptive power of the erotic against the rigid, normalizing structures of family, law, marriage, popular culture, movies, and music—societal institutions that codify sexual relations.

In this interview Cecilia Dougherty describes her work and her explorations into family interactions, outsider psychology, role-playing, lesbian sexuality, and popular culture. Her videos Grapefruit (1989) and Coal Miner’s Granddaughter (1991) work from within mass culture norms to create a lesbian dialogue within the “normal”—what Dougherty calls “the life of the ordinary lesbian and her working-class family.” Her more recent vides explore lesbian identity within a separate social sphere.

Draft 9, 2003

"This movie was collected for four years before being sprayed scattershot over 28 minutes of psychic mayhem. The line between living and dead is a frontier crossed and re-crossed here. The living are dead while the dead are animated, breathing, swimming, giving birth. Consumed by the animal life of the city, the artist undertakes a first person journey, producing diary notes from one of the most skilled lens masters of the new generation. The camera is her company in this duet of death, the instrument that permits her to see the impossible, the unbearable, the invisible."

A House Wife's hum-drum world dissolves away into a thorny Passion Play of miraculous visions.

Sassy, iconoclastic, and never-married, Los Angeles filmmaker Susan Mogul rides shotgun with ex-lovers, almost lovers, and her Dad, in a road movie turned inside out. Conversations with each driving man - pornographer, tuba player, TV critic, long haul truck driver, and more - are catalysts to reflect upon the past and comment about the present.

The fourth collaboration between Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke continues its melancholic musings on desire and mourning, this time with more twerking. Hypnotic backgrounds and eccentric animals lend to its psychedelic children's cartoon vibe, and the signature Madonna and Stockhausen soundtrack enhances the desperation for paradise among those extra long tongues and snake-y bodies.

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.

This high octane drama that I made with my students at the San Francisco Art Institute chronicles the moral decline of it's heroine, as the love of a man she obsesses over drives her over something else: a cliff into hell.  It's a free fall all the way to the bottom destination, and there's a heck of a lot of nice looking, young people along for the ride.

Encounters I May Or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin deals primarily with monumentality, narcissism and the ways in which our heroes are embedded into our identities, and manifested through the body. Through a variety of gestures, the pervasiveness of this practice is highlighted alongside its ultimate, inevitable failure. The viewer moves through various stages of anxiety, idolization and actual touchdown with 1970s gay sex icon Peter Berlin himself, capturing both the apparent and the hidden.

Playwright and performance artist Marc Arthur paves a color-saturated path from 'awake consciousness' to sleeping 'dreamscape'.

Phalloi Phaerie emerges from the wood. Forest nymphs with carnivorous flowers begin their mating rituals in a playful, polymorphously perverse return to arcadia. A meeting of Jack Smith and Sid and Marty Krofft in an early Kate Bush music video on a sylvan summer day in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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.

EVOL, 1985

In EVOL (love spelled backwards), the audience is voyeur, peering into the delirious and erotic dreams of a young man (Oursler). We drift with him through anecdotes that poke fun at the disparity between the culturally accepted stereotypes of sex and love we are taught as children and the realities we discover in adult life.

Face-Off, 1972

Acconci listens to his own recorded monologue of sexually intimate secrets and repeatedly tries to obscure these secrets by shouting over the tape, demonstrating the paradoxical situation of the artist confounded by two desires: to reveal oneself for the sake of pleasing the audience, and the conflicting desire to protect one’s own ego. As viewers, we are intrigued and tantalized by the confession we never hear.

A lady alone amid the flowers of a garden becomes the target of mischievous elements therein.

The Fancy, 2000

The Fancy is a speculative, experimental work that explores the life of Francesca Woodman (1958-1981), evoked by the published catalogues of and about her photographs. Structural in form, the video radically reorganizes information from the catalogues in order to pose questions about biographical form, history and fantasy, female subjectivity, and issues of authorship and intellectual property.