My Failure to Assimilate muses on the profound sense of melancholy that sets in after the end of a relationship. The tape uses poetry, songs, collage, interviews, and narrative elements to construct a complex picture of the resulting loss of direction and loss of identity. The tape is organized into three sections: Part 1: 'Schizophrenia'; Part II: 'Alienation'; and Part III: 'True Self'. Central to the question of identity is the interplay between imaginary and symbolic identification.
In this interview, American writer, artist, performer Eileen Myles (b.1949) discusses the various philosophies that motivate her work, including the language of film, embodied performance, and the alienation evoked by bodily vulgarity. Myles links her wide range of artistic and literary practice with notions of abstraction, improvisation, and the mythology of gender, which she explores in relation to her own identity as a working, middle-class lesbian woman. She reflects on the significance of geographical locations, both New York City and San Diego, on her art, and shares how her past struggles with addiction have shaped her life and practice.
There is no future in reproduction. I have no concern with any species extending itself through time. You think you have given birth to a baby, when really you have given birth to a bus driver, or tax collector. Instead I'm interested in the placenta, the real mother of us all, forgotten discarded. The softest machine, all lipids and blood, that blooms and rots like any vegetal/floral martyr. That umbilical cord did not connect you to your mother. It connected you to that most partial of objects — the placenta — part you, part mom, all martyr and garbage.
In 1973 Joan Nestle co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives, an essential collection of documents, writings, and artifacts of lesbian cultural history. In 1979 she began writing erotic stories and has published two collections of writings: A Restricted Country (1987) and A Fragile Union (1998). She took a controversial stance in opposition to the 1980s feminist anti-pornography movement, thus becoming a fervent pro-sex activist in the “Sex Wars.” Interview by Nina Levitt.
In New Report, Wynne Greenwood and K8 Hardy are reporters at WKRH - the feminist news station that is "pregnant with information." As Henry Irigaray (Hardy) and Henry Stein-Acker-Hill (Greenwood), these two lesbian feminist artists stage reports on and with their friends, their social herstories, their nerves, and their bodies. It is urgently broadcast live to the newsroom and out to their studio audience.
The second installment of the collaborative project New Report, an ongoing series of performances and videos, Artist Unknown features K8 Hardy (founder of the queer feminist art collective LTTR) and Wynne Greenwood (of Tracy and the Plastics) playing Henry Irigaray and Henry Stein-Acker-Hill, and anchor and roving correspondent for WKRH, a feminist TV news station whose tagline is "pregnant with information." Based on documentation of a live, digital communication in real time between Greenwood at Foxy Production Gallery and Hardy on the street in New York.
In a version of the “teenage diary,” Benning places her feelings of confusion and depression alongside grisly tales from tabloid headlines and brutal events in her neighborhood. The difficulty of finding a positive identity for oneself in a world filled with violence is starkly revealed by Benning’s youthful but already despairing voice.
“We each have only one single life which is our real life, starting at the cradle and ending at the grave. I warn Dorothy every time I see her that if she doesn’t watch out, her life is going to be left aching and starving on the side of the road and she’s going to get to her grave without it. The farther a man follows the rainbow, the harder it is for him to get back to the life which he left starving like an old dog.”
—Jane Bowles, “Plain Pleasures” in My Sister’s Hand in Mine (New York: Ecco Press, 1978)
Take a joyride through comfortable suburbia—a landscape molded by seductive television and corporate America (and keep in mind: disaster is another logo for your consumption...). This is the age of the "culture jammed" consumer preened with Friends hair, Survivor courage, and CNN awareness. A generation emptying their wallets for the most important corporate product of all: lifestyle. The psychological road trip across a slightly battered America travels at One Mile per Minute.
Are gender outlaws considered the new biological terrorists seeking weapons of mass bodily destruction? OPERATION INVERT compares the different regulations mediating botox-related plastic surgery and gender reassignment "sex change." Historical medical assessments of the invert (homosexual and transsexual) "condition" reveal seemingly outdated absurdities about outsider deviance. Nonetheless, current institutional loopholes governing gender re-assignment surgery suggest a fresh resurgence of loony pathology and diagnosis.
In response to the dominant impression that gay people are white people, Orientations aims to set the record straight on homosexual identity. More than a dozen men and women of different Asian backgrounds speak frankly, humorously, and often poignantly about their lives as members of a minority within a minority. They speak about coming out, homophobia, racism, cultural identity, sex, and the ways that being gay and Asian have shaped who they are.
Unlike other sectors of Romanian civil society who gained status after December 1989, the gay community struggled for many more years with a legal ban imposed by a conservative political class subservient to the Orthodox Church. Against this background, I planned to make a tactical video whose leitmotif was a pas de deux performed by two male dancers.