Sexuality

2012
Lay Bare

"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances" wrote Oscar Wilde. Lay Bare is a composite portrait of the human body, revealing it as it is only rarely seen in the most intimate relationships we have with our family or our lovers -- erotic and comic, beautiful and vulnerable.

Music, sound design and mixed by Andy Cowton

Note: This title is intended by the artist to be viewed in High Definition. While DVD format is available to enable accessibility, VDB recommends presentation on Blu-ray or HD digital file.

 

1993
Carol Leigh: An Interview

During a conference in the late 1970s, Carol Leigh (also known as the Scarlot Harlot) coined the term “sex worker.” Now, it is a fundamental part of the lexicon regarding all worker’s rights and this is owed in large part to Leigh’s artistic and activist career. Working primarily through the medium of performance and video – her work attempts to educate and broaden audiences’ understanding of sex work and the fundamental rights sex workers deserve. This interview is a distillation of those aims.

2011
Lesser Apes

Lesser Apes tells the story of a love affair between a primatologist, Farrah, and a female bonobo ape, Meema. Bonobos are the species with which humans share the most DNA, but unlike our species, they are matriarchal, live without conflict, and are unabashedly sexual. A paean to perversion, the film combines animation, live action and song to challenge attitudes about sex, language and our relationship to nature.

1988
Let's Play Prisoners

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.

2002

Poet Leticia Plotkin's final poem, intended to praise the ancient deities who control one's fate, turns instead into a bitter damnation scribbled in venom.

2012
Dani Leventhal Videoworks: Volume 1

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.

1989
Living Inside

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.

This title is also available on Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 1.

2017
Liz/James/Stillholes (2005/2017), Liz Rosenfeld

An exploration of cruising glory holes, feminism, and general queer frustration.

2018
Arbitrary Fragments, Barbara Aronofsky Latham

The emergence of video art tools in the late 1960s and early 1970s paved the way for an extraordinary number of outstanding art works by women. Captivated by the relative accessibility, portability and immediacy of Sony’s Video Portapak recording system, a significant number of female artists began to experiment with the video format. Often taking a direct-to-camera approach, many of the resulting works reflect the burgeoning feminist movement in the U.S. at the time.

2005
Shu Lea Cheang "LOVEME2030"

Paris, as in other metropolitan European cities, is rejuvenated by the influx of border crossing urbanites. While the old guard Europeans accept the arrival of the New Europeans, the tension of the urban mix is recounted in the collective tangled love stories left unfulfilled. Two young LOVEME agents , Natsuo and Hako, sent from Tokyo headquarter, are transported to Paris on a mission.

1990
Madam Dante's Inferno

A lonely dowager's last, desperate fling at reactivating her long dormant libido leads her on a path toward depravity and lurking danger.

1997
Majnounak (Crazy of You)

Set in the industrial suburbs of Beirut, Majnounak (Crazy of You) explores male sexuality through interviews with three men who are asked to recount very openly the beginning, middle, and end of a sexual relationship they have experienced. The video explores the image they wanted to project of themselves, hence the image of the "male" they identify with. Their stories are alike, starting with seduction and ending after sex.

1989
Martina's Playhouse

“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."

1987
Mayhem

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.

1990
Me and Rubyfruit

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.

This title is also available on Sadie Benning Videoworks: Volume 1.