Acconci's open mouth is framed by the camera in an extreme close-up, bringing the viewer uncomfortably close. A desperate sense of strained urgency comes across as Acconci gasps, "I'll accept you, I won't shut down, I won't shut you out.... Im open to you, I'm open to everything.... This is not a trap, we can go inside, yes, come inside...." Acconci continues to plead in this way for the length of the tape, his mouth held unnaturally wide open. The pathological psychology of such enforced openness betrays a desperate struggle to accept and be accepted by others.
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 Historical medical assessments of the invert (homosexual and transsexual) "condition" reveal seemingly outdated absurdities about outsider deviance.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.
This 3-disc DVD collection features nine works by maverick film and video maker Peggy Ahwesh. The set also includes title descriptions, a biography, film/videography, a selected bibliography, and the following texts:
Pistolary! Films and Videos by Peggy Ahwesh -- Eileen Myles
“Nicky is seven. His parents are older and meaner.” A Place Called Lovely references the types of violence individuals find in life, from actual beatings, accidents and murders, to the more insidious violence of lies, social expectations, and betrayed faith. Benning collects images of this socially-pervasive violence from a variety of sources, tracing events from childhood: movies, tabloids, children's games (like mumbledy-peg), personal experiences, and those of others.
The setting for The Politics of Intimacy recalls the widespread consciousness-raising (CR) groups in the late '60s and early '70s inspired by the emerging feminist movement. CR groups provided a forum to openly and collectively validate women's otherwise private experiences. In the tape Dr. Sherfy, one of the first doctors to write about female sexuality, and nine women of different ages, sexual preferences, and economic and social situations discuss their sexual experiences.
This feature-length video follows several inflicted characters and recounts the ways in which they find resolve. A series of entropic scenarios held together by an attraction to failure and its spectacle describe the characters' malfunction - their inability to fulfill personal desire. Compelled by the consequences and rewards of their attempts they question their own trajectory. Using elements of melodrama, performative monologue and traditional narrative structure Ponytail presents a unique society of characters that destroy the distinction between memory and invention.
As if trapped inside a nightmare, the main protagonist of Poster Girl is haunted by disturbing visions, thoughts and fantasies, which the viewer is privy to. She is joined at various points in the video by another woman, whose role in the narrative remains unclear – is she meant to function as a guardian or a demon? The video further complicates the matter by representing both women as simultaneously wounded and wounding, inviting and threatening, vulnerable and menacing.
Over grainy, black and white images of a woman giving birth, Montano reads the story of a nun’s sexual self-discovery—recounting Sister Joan’s growing awareness of her body’s sensuousness and sexuality. Primal Scenes is an excellent example of women’s erotica, focusing on a woman’s experience of her body as both sexually powerful and deeply mysterious.
This black and white drama of romance, adventure and outer space intervention was mounted at the San Francisco Art Institute. The plot concerns two groups of missionaries who depart for a tropical island inhabited by a population of attractive denizens who are ruled by a libido-fueled queen. She in turn is guided by the Star People who have their own carnal urges and the result is volcanic. The $400 budget guarantees cheap thrills and makes an explosive vehicle for the queen of these dime store dynamos: Linda Martinez (our Sharon Stone).
This first program deals with stories of captivity. To start, Hostage: The Bachar tapes by Walid Raad presents us with an imagined hostage presumably held in custody along with the American hostages in Lebanon during the 1980’s. Raad’s work reflects on the invention and communication of stories about abduction, insisting on the families’ unity in the face of threats, and reads through the fears and sexual fantasies of the kidnapped Americans who are held in the same cell with a Lebanese man.