Sexuality

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.

Many a man has tried to leave the prison of his hide; it's no "paradise" living in skin!

Flat is Beautiful is an experimental live-action cartoon using masks, animation, subtitles, drawings, and dramatic scenes to investigate the psychic life of an androgynous eleven-year-old girl. Growing up in a working class neighborhood with her single mother and gay roommate, Taylor confronts the loneliness of living between masculine and feminine in a culture obsessed with defining gender difference. Shifting between black and white film and grainy pixelvision video, Flat is Beautiful explores the internal and external worlds of sad people.

In a meditation on the sexuality of the readymade, an off-camera artist forces one object into another.

“The best evidence yet that obscenity is easier recognized than defined.”

— Anne Reecer, Cinematexas (Austin, 2003)

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

Shot in the style of a silent film from the 1920s, Frida & Anita is a political fantasy, intersecting the lives of two queer radicals — Frida Kahlo and Anita Berber — who happen to meet one fateful Berlin night in 1924 at the infamous La Garcon Cabaret.

Frida & Anita is the first film in The Surface Tension Trilogy, a three-part short film trilogy looking at queer artists living in Berlin during the 1920s.

Gay Tape: Butch and Femme is Cecilia Dougherty's first video work. She was immersed in two things at the time: making artwork, and being a part of the Oakland, California lesbian bar scene. The tape is the child of those two activities. Dougherty asked her friends, Ann and Joanne, and her girlfriend at the time, Rosa, to speak on camera about dating and the emergence of butch-femme relationships, which alluded to not so much a regression to old-time lesbian subculture, as to a quotation of those times, and an appreciation of that kind of lesbian eroticism.

Shot in black and white Super 8, this lyrical short follows a wandering, disengaged youth through grey afternoons. German Song features the hard-edged music of Come, an alternative band from Boston.

This very funny video plays with the identification of the camera as phallus, as an instrument of power and domination intruding upon reality; never an innocent bystander, it is always the organizing locus of events. Over sequences in which the camera/viewer approaches entrances to houses, shops, and other buildings, the soundtrack carries the moans of a man and woman reaching orgasm. The pitch and urgency of their moaning increases as the camera nears and finally penetrates its target.

A sweeping saga of an evil matriarch and her march to infamy as she invades the hearts and souls of those organs and entities that reside in the male physique. A lustful excursion to the far corners of the globe as this vixen of vice weaves an occult web of sticky substances guaranteed to gummy up the gals and grease down the guys.

Set to music by Bikini Kill (an all-girl band from Washington), Sadie Benning's Girl Power is a raucous vision of what it means to be a radical girl in the 1990s. Benning relates her personal rebellion against school, family, and female stereotypes as a story of personal freedom, telling how she used to model like Matt Dillon and skip school to have adventures alone. Informed by the underground “riot grrrl” movement, this tape transforms the image politics of female youth, rejecting traditional passivity and polite compliance in favor of radical independence and a self-determined sexual identity.

Chief Pedro Mãmãindê (who directed the proceedings and the shoot itself) describes the necessity of strengthening the girls of his village by secluding them after their first menses. After several months, the village throws a party, with singing, feasting, and the ritual abduction of the girl by an allied village. When the Nambiquara of Mato Grosso see videotape of themselves performing this ritual, the excess of Western clothing makes them uncomfortable. The ritual is then re-enacted with traditional body painting and adornment.

Chief Pedro Mãmãindê (who directed the proceedings and the shoot itself) describes the necessity of strengthening the girls of his village by secluding them after their first menses. After several months, the village throws a party, with singing, feasting, and the ritual abduction of the girl by an allied village. When the Nambiquara of Mato Grosso see videotape of themselves performing this ritual, the excess of Western clothing makes them uncomfortable. The ritual is then re-enacted with traditional body painting and adornment.

Grand Mal, 1981

"Oursler’s thematic concerns betray classic Freudian anxieties about sex and death. In Grand Mal, the hero takes a convoluted odyssey through a landscape of disturbing experiences. The video’s free association includes, "digressions about the difference between salt and sugar and a version of the creation myth that is both banal and terrifying."

— Christine Tamblyn, “Art Notes,” Scan (November/December 1981)

Gravity, 2007

Gravity is a long passionate film kiss in which kissing scenes from different films are woven in each-other by switching every three frames between two scenes. Deep passion becomes a stranglehold as cinematographic high points pile up. The reassuring world of multiplied cinematographic kisses is shattered by a stroboscopic effect that plunges and looses us into the dizzying vertigo of the embrace where, as often in Provost’s cinema, love becomes a passionate battle in which monsters are finally unmasked.

The snake-haired sisters of old legend are alive and well in Manhattan... Well, sort of. And yes, kind of turning parts of men hard like stone... but one of them is frustrated and getting desperate.

Handy Man, 1999

Handy Man examines the window as a site of voyeurism and surveillance. With his Hi-8 camera, Henricks documents two workers in his interior courtyard. The camerawork has a secretive and furtive feel, treating the male body as an erotic object. This footage forms the basis of a video which attempts to implicate the viewer in processes of exhibitionism and image fetishization. Handy Man is part of a trilogy of works exploring one of the principle metaphors of video: the window.

“A soldier’s trip to Syria is complicated when he accidentally impregnates a friend. Meanwhile, a horse breeder from Ohio is driven away from home by her own desire to become pregnant. In Hard as Opal the lines between truth and fiction, fact and fantasy, are reined in and treated not as fixed, divisive markers but as malleable threads of narrative potential. Buckhiester and Leventhal perform alongside other non-actors who are filmed in their own varying domestic and professional environments.

“A soldier’s trip to Syria is complicated when he accidentally impregnates a friend. Meanwhile, a horse breeder from Ohio is driven away from home by her own desire to become pregnant. In Hard as Opal the lines between truth and fiction, fact and fantasy, are reined in and treated not as fixed, divisive markers but as malleable threads of narrative potential. Buckhiester and Leventhal perform alongside other non-actors who are filmed in their own varying domestic and professional environments.

Heal Me, 2000

A woman is standing barefoot on a tile floor.  In slow motion, the investigative camera circles around her.  Her breasts are bared and liquid runs down her legs.  Bit by bit, every part of her body is shown, except her face, which remains hidden behind her hair.  The camera besets the woman, who remains silent.

This title is also available on Hester Scheurwater Videoworks: Volume 1.

A portrait of a studio photographer, Her + Him VAN LEO also examines the photography of the 1940s and 50s from a critical perspective rather than a nostalgic one. This documentary utilizes traditional portrait photography and video in a dialogue between two media: crafted black and white print, and the electronically colored and manipulated screen. This dialog comments on the transformations in art practices and terminologies, and evokes some of the social/urban/political transformations that took place in Egypt over 50 years of its recent history.

In the quiet pre-dawn stillness, a boy gives 'voice' to his soul.

Hostage: The Bachar Tapes (English Version) is an experimental documentary about "The Western Hostage Crisis." The crisis refers to the abduction and detention of Westerners like Terry Anderson, and Terry Waite in Lebanon in the 80s and early 90s by "Islamic militants." This episode directly and indirectly consumed Lebanese, U.S., French, and British political and public life, and precipitated a number of high-profile political scandals like the Iran-Contra affair in the U.S.

How I Love You is an exploration of sexuality among gay men in Lebanon. A couple and three individuals talk about their sex lives, about commitments and failures, about their relationships to their bodies, about their passions and love in a society where homosexuality is still punished by imprisonment. The video uses light to produce a white veil that obstructs seeing, hence rendering character identification almost impossible. Through this obstruction, the video locates itself within a specific social context.