"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."
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.
Video Data Bank is proud to present the wonderful work of prolific video artist Ximena Cuevas in our latest DVD box set, Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas. This four volume box set features 25 videos by the award-winning artist, spanning 21 years, and is accompanied by a 75-page booklet containing the following essays that examine aspects of Cuevas’s work:
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 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.
Three of these four works form a trilogy that explores one of the principle metaphors of video: the window. The window is used to examine notions of knowledge, voyeurism, surveillance and time. In addition, Crush is a reflection on identity, what it means to be human.
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.
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.
This video is about seduction. The audience is seduced by the female narrator, while at the same time repelled by the seductress' desperate need for love and approval. The title is ironic: although the narrator "likes girls for friends better than boys," the attraction is masochistic and destructive.