It’s been over a year since I posted my last statement regarding my collection of video self-portraits that chronicle my rite of passage of moving to Europe. I now have 39 of these videos and have since delved into other versions of video art that utilize fine art principles nuanced in their execution. I’ve had three exhibitions of my work including winning a prize at the CIANT Festival of New Media in Prague where I presented one of my films regarding movement research in subway environments.
The next films chronicle a turning point in my inhabitance here – many of which still to this day speak about that ultimate distraction…
This is the first self-portrait video I made where I started to work with different scenes and angles and I also played around with the lighting. It was made just about a year ago when I reunited with a man I met during my second stint in Berlin a year before. At the time I was in hiatus, looking for a new place to live after staying with my friend Rob over the summer and I was rescued from a rather “interesting” situation where I was living with an insane alcoholic. The scene takes place in a holiday flat owned by (Daddy we’ll call him for intents and purposes) – and the awakening in the film portrays a discovery of the dichotomy of togetherness and loneliness. I was happy to be free of the situation with the alcoholic and for the first time I was living alone, though I did not own the apartment. The daily morning routine is exhibited here with an air of longing – displaying my satisfaction and disappointment with finally having peace and quiet all to myself. It is where I further developed my stop motion movement editing technique.
Shaving my head has always been a very cathartic process for me and appears in many of these films. When I am at wits end and have issues with certain circumstances out of control in my life, I take the time to bathe in the ritual to create calm and to give myself a new perspective. The emotional outburst that takes place at the beginning of the film is of course what took place at the end of the filming, indicative of the backwards motion photography that I use. I was at a loss at this time – and this environment was another holiday flat owned by Daddy – who at the time I was starting to become more and more confused about the future of our relationship.
This film is split into two parts (time reversed of course) of me getting ready for and coming back from an audition for a dance production that was to take place in Berlin. Another view into a special ritual of mine that involves the wardrobe involved with dance that I have always had a love for. I thought it was imperative to add this moment onto the roster of self-portraits to display one of the many challenges of finding work as a freelance artist.
Doing laundry in Berlin has always been a unique experience in Berlin because the system is very – German. Another cathartic process of gaining control, here I again tried to play with new camera angles and display a ritual that is important to my artistic life. At the time I was drinking pretty heavily and I wanted to comment on how open Berliners are with where and when you can drink alcohol (no one cares). The Laundromat is also where I managed to get a lot of writing done – not distracted by many of the things going on where I was living at the time. It is one of the least popular videos that I have posted, perhaps because of the length and the fact that it is one of the videos where I keep my clothes on and there are none of my burlesque elements in the piece. It is also one of the longest films I have made in this genre.
This was the first self-portrait that I made that had a tag line : “Shit just got real”. This started a big jump in the content of the films as I was thoroughly starting to make a big leap into a relationship with Daddy. I made the film not only as part of continuing the collection, but to send to Daddy directly as a gift and/or statement of my developing feelings. In it I tried to make a joke of my still augmenting alcoholism along with my tendency towards explosive mood swings and my constant desire to hide them from reality. The “shit just got real” statement is a comment on my reluctance to accept what was really going on – I was falling in love, or was I jumping into it?
21. The Thinker
This video was obviously inspired by or at least a nod to the famous sculpture work of Rodin. I went back to my original technique of having only one camera angle with the moving backward stop motion technique. Here all of my insecurities were coming to light in regards to my experiences in Berlin. It tells the story of fighting against and for becoming an object in a city where sexuality is so abject in the gay community. At the time I was again (in a different context) being exposed to the leather community – one that I learned about in other cities in America. The Thinker in this film is the quintessential D&G model depicted in the large poster (housed in Daddy’s apartment) that many times I felt inferior to and created a sense of uneasiness in trying to become that perfect sculpted beauty to attain supreme appreciation through his attentions.
This video was shot in Prague where I was to receive my award for my film “You Bahn” about my movement research in subway environments. I went back to the technique of my first self-portrait video that involved me eating a banana with the backwards motion photography technique – though this time an orange seemed appropriate, albeit less provocative. The hunger in the title refers to my loneliness that occurred in that beautiful city. Though I was receiving accolades for my work, I felt desperate to have Daddy there with me but at the time we were fighting about something and I thought that our relationship was going to be over.
Every man I have ever dated has been a complete slob. This film was shot in December, in Gran Canaria, Spain, an island close to the coast of Africa. It was an impromptu trip, arranged by Daddy, and while I was happy that I was going to see him and get away from Berlin for a while – I struggled with accepting the fact that I was going to be on vacation for 10 days, unplanned, and without the internet. This experience proved to be one of the most harrowing times in my relationship with Daddy – after I discovered that he was in fact having a serious relationship with someone else, someone who just hours before my arrival was in the very same bed, I had an “incident” that involved Daddy having to clean up after me (for a change).
Also shot in Gran Canaria during that pivotal moment in the relationship with Daddy, this video is a direct metaphor regarding my trepidation when it comes to developing relationships. The faceless solitude speaks volumes here about what I was going through at the time – trapped in paradise and sleeping with the enemy. I was testing the proverbial waters that house all the fish in the sea, and instead of jumping in, I chose to rest and watch my reflection for a while.