During the winter of 1994, actor Ron Vawter was in Brussels working on a theater production about the mythical Greek warrior, Philoketes. Philoketes was abandoned by Odysseus on the island of Lemnos after he had been bitten by a snake while on route to Troy. He was betrayed by Odysseus because his wound would not heal, provoking mournful cries and a stench that distressed the other soldiers.
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.
A haunting look at the hidden issues of erotic power relationships between women, told through the reconstructed story of two girlhood friends. In Zando’s tape, the origins of desire and domination are traced to the early stages of the childhood relation between mother and daughter, as revealed in the often fearful and cruel framework of childhood play. In the paradigm of need and dependency versus power and control, the submissive impulse is linked to the transcendent yearning to reunite with the pre-natal mother.
The work of Dani Leventhal explores the complicated space that exists between decay and renewal, intimacy and disconnection and the sacred and mundane. The six pieces that comprise Dani Leventhal Videoworks: Volume 1 each examine these ambiguous emotional and psychic spaces through a use of montage that is at once both unstructured and dispassionate and lyrically sentimental.
Listen To This is a fragment of collective memory that finds critical relevance in contemporary Queer discourse. Tom Rubnitz weaves narration, image, and a form of temporality, dislocated from ‘real time’, into a video where artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz’s loss and anger is palpable.
When she was 16, Benning stopped going to high school for three weeks and stayed inside with her camera, her TV set, and a pile of dirty laundry. This tape mirrors her psyche during this time. With the image breaking up between edits, the rough quality of this early tape captures Benning’s sense of isolation and sadness, her retreat from the world. As such, Living Inside is the confession of a chronic outsider.
The Look of Love: A Gothic Romance is an experimental video/audio collage in four acts. Performing in various guises, Suzie Silver embarks on a quest for the magnificence—and horror—of desire and pleasure. Her female characters are caught up in a cascade of subtle and spectacular cinematic images of sexual desire between women.
This experimental Pixelvision piece explores the tenuous boundaries of gender through a series of mini-sequences, among them a group of anecdotes told by women who have been mistaken for men and a must-see synchronized barbershop scene.
“In Martina’s Playhouse everything is up for grabs. The little girl of the title oscillates from narrator to reader to performer and from the role of baby to that of mother. While the roles she adopts may be learned, they are not set, and she moves easily between them. Similarly, in filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh’s playhouse of encounters with friends, objects aren’t merely objects but shift between layers of meaning. Men are conspicuously absent, a ‘lack’ reversing the Lacanian/Freudian constructions of women as Ahwesh plays with other possibilities."
Through a catalogue of looks, movements, and gestures, Mayhem presents a social order run amok in a libidinous retracing of film noir conventions. Sexuality flows in an atmosphere of sexual tension, danger, violence, and glamour; antagonism between the sexes is symbolized in the costuming of women in polka dots and men in stripes. Censored in Tokyo for its use of Japanese lesbian erotica, this tape creates an image bank of what signifies the sexual and the seductive in the history of imagemaking, pointing to the way we learn about our bodies, and how to use them from images.
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.
Child masterfully composes a rhythmic collage of symmetries and asymmetries in a fluid essay that forefronts the treatment of the body as a mechanized instrument — placing the body in relation to the man-made landscape of factories, amusement parks and urban office complexes. Vocals performed by Shelley Hirsch.
Mutiny employs a panoply of expression, gesture, and repeated movement. Its central images are of women: at home, on the street, at the workplace, at school, talking, singing, jumping on trampolines, playing the violin. The syntax of the film reflects the possibilities and limitations of speech, while “politically, physically, and realistically” flirting with the language of opposition.