"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.
Kiss The Boys And Make Them Die explores how memory, sexuality, and the self are created and enforced through the family story. The video chronicles how the social act of loving women becomes channeled into narratives of incest, desire for the mother, loss of the father, separation from the family, death and self-destruction. In this work, sexuality, difference and language are paralleled with haunting memories of a childhood ghost that both desires and hates women.
Part of a campaign initiated in 1989, this video is a component of Gran Fury’s plan to raise consciousness and advance medical and federal reform on AIDS policy. These ads ran on TV as a counterpart to controversial bus posters, which generated some intensely negative reactions. Using Benneton’s "United Colors" ad campaign to a decidedly different end, simple but powerful images and modern text deliver an enlighteningly direct message.
The Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven né Plotz, was an unsung member of the Dada Movement. A poet, artist, runaway, and all around public provocateur; she actively did not fit into her historical moment, and like most misfits, suffered for it. As with many women artists throughout history, her cultural legacy has been obscured and in some instances appropriated into the oeuvres of better known male peers.
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.