Cheap Blonde Janet Merewether (Australia, 1998, 16mm, 5:oo)
Twelve words – A famous filmmaker said “Cinema is the history of men filming women” – are pronounced in an ever-changing sequence so as to undermine the meaning of the original proposition. At the same time it becomes clear that the image of a blonde woman, sitting in front of a waterfall, is an artificial image, an electronic construction. By unraveling and regrouping layers of meaning of both language and image, Cheap Blonde demonstrates that truth does not exist in film. The work is also a critique of the use of sensual depictions of women to promote the sales of audiovisual equipment to men; Merewether shot the image of the blonde woman at just such a trade fair.
Sugar Dad Anders Thoren (Sweden, 1998, video, 3:35)
By juxtaposing heterogeneous visual material, a fictive dialogue emerges between a man and a woman. Disaster is brewing just under the surface.
The Morphology of Desire Robert Arnold (USA, 1998, 16 mm, 5:45)
Arnold investigates how sex and desire are presented in mass culture. In so doing he makes use of morphing, a digital technique which allows static images be combined in a fluid motion. Just such an animation of the illustrations featured on the covers of cheap romance novels exposes certain fixed patterns that call up many questions. Why, for example, does the man almost always stand behind the woman? And why do they never actually kiss or embrace?
One Pussy Show Anja Czioska (Germany, 1998, 16 mm, 6:oo)
This film is an accelerated recording of the ‘Changing Clothes’ performance. A naked woman surrounds herself with a circle of bags which contain clothes. These clothes were her wardrobe between 1988 – 1998, a reflection of recent fashion history. She puts on one item after the next, again and again choosing from another pile. Old hits reverberate from the radio. The woman dances and moves in accordance with the kind of clothes she is wearing. Directed at the camera, as if in front of a mirror, at one point she depicts a seductive woman, then an aggressive one.
Self Defense Lydia Moyer (USA, 1998, video, 3:52)
In the tradition of the strong women from film noir, our heroine wields her pistol in images which display a severe black & white contrast. Because the image is reflected, the pistol is pointed at herself. She is both the saviour as well as the victim; the weapon both threatens and defends her.
Trim Cecilia Lundqvist (Sweden, 1997, video, 3:53)
The small figures Lundqvist draws and animates on the computer are funny and innocent, or so it seems. But when a girl takes mercy on a stray dog, it seems she lacks a human quality as general as empathy. After consulting a book, she very calmly cuts off the dog’s tail, as is she were from Mars. Under a sterile surface, feministic and Freudian connotations are stirring here.
Wormcharmer Roz Mortimer (GB, 1998, 16 mm, 9:oo)
A chic woman is the protagonist in this simultaneously erotic and disturbing film. Not only does she win championships for earthworm catching, but she also has an obsession with the little critters which borders on identification. Likewise, her capital villa is, upon closer inspection, rather less than immaculate; while the worms develop claustrophobia in a doll house, the woman digs a tunnel in the hall, which is filled to the ceiling with dirt. When, after providing an infinite wealth of worm trivia, the voiceover turns to the subject of worm reproduction, the woman cannot let even this aspect go untested. But only after having had a taste; the consumption of worms is said to increase the libido.
The Amateurist Miranda July (USA, 1998, video, 14:oo)
A ‘professional’ has been observing an ‘amateur’ for years via a video security system. Numbers, buttons and careful use of language make a certain communication between the two women possible. With conviction and humor, July plays both parties in this absurd and oppressive situation.
We Hate You Little Boy Janene Higgins (USA, 1998, video, 3:45)
Higgins based her video on a text that artist John Duncan wrote in chalk on the wall as part of an installation. It’s the stream of consciousness of a man who was abused during his youth. This is unwittingly his representation of how the world thinks about him, especially women. In the video, this verbal poison appears everywhere in black bands over close-up images of a touching little man. Bursts of laughter and disgust struggle for dominance, as we see the image of his dismayed face above a sentence like ‘We always knew you’d be ungrateful, you tit-sucking zombie.”
The Cock Fight Lisa DiLillo (USA, 1998, video, 3:15)
DiLillo offers the viewer an orgy of violence, color and speed with the idea of exposing the attractive powers held by the kind of spectacles that champion inordinate displays of manliness and bragging, exaggerate the importance of winning, and bypass the consequences of their own violent character.