Do You Believe in Water?

Lawrence Weiner

1976 | 00:39:00 | United States | English | Color |

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Performance, Video History

The performers are seated around a pink octagonal table on pink, violet, and silver cinder blocks. One performer (Robert Stearns) stands up, recites the credits for the piece, and then says, “Do you believe in water? Robert Stearns.” He claps and turns to the next performer who asks the same question and gives his name. Next the players split up into pairs and attempt to relate to each other—playing tug-of-war, making love, arguing over who has the most integrity, and fighting for possession of the props. As the different relationships evolve, the triple-layered soundtrack interfaces with the players. We hear puzzling rhetorical questions such as: “Is tongue kissing like ass kissing?" "Heads or tails?" "Can you make that kind of quality judgement about colors?" "Do you think there is an emotional response to color?”

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Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001

 

Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001

 

 

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung