There But For

Lawrence Weiner

1980 | 00:20:00 | United States | English | Color | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Family, Video History

There But For resembles a soap opera; its characters—a couple whose relationship has seen better days, a ball-and-jack playing adult/child, and a couple that comes to visit the family—are in the midst of their day-to-day lives (an imitation of life). The music was composed and performed live on the set as the play unfolded. There But For is a free-form chance operation within the defined boundaries of place (an apartment) and the assigned roles of the players: the mother (bitch), the father (jerk), their kid (retard), and their visitors. The players continually argue as they feel their way through this structure, where ambiguity is the form. The kid asks, “Is mediocrity its own reward?” Perhaps the clue for the viewer is in the tape’s title: There But For (the grace of God go I)."

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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