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Pixelvisionary Priestess

  • Recent Video by Sadie Benning; Sadie Benning In Person
  • Thursday, December 3, 8 pm
  • Latvian House, 491 College (at Palmerston)

Part of Fall 1998

A co-presentation with YYZ Artists’ Outlet

American nomad Sadie Benning, renowned the world over for achieving spiritual apotheosis through the employment of her pixelvision toy video camera, returns to Toronto with a slew of recent work stemming from 1994 to the present. Commencing is the urban landscape German Song (’94) marking her first collaborative effort with sound artists COME; followed by The Judy Spots (’95) – three PSAs exposing the troubled life of an animated puppet-like character whose brutal childhood history plays itself out in a paranoid adult existence. Building on the bold use of Jiffy Marker “drawings” established in Judy, the evening concludes with the Canadian premiere of Benning’s first feature film Flat is Beautiful (’98). Remarkable for its emotive engagement and moments of pure poiesis (drag shadow dancing), as well as for its extraordinary formalist push, Flat will be remembered as one of those rare anomalies that inform the integrity and history of independent feature filmmaking.

Artist Talk & Reception, Friday, December 4, 8:00 pm
@ YYZ Artists’ Outlet, 401 Richmond St. West, Suite 140

Notes:
Pixelvisionary Priestess
Videos by Sadie Benning

German Song 5:49, 1995
Judy Spots 12:50, 1995
Flat is Beautiful 50:00, 1998

Pleasure Dome is pleased to present an evening program of new works by the American video/filmmaker Sadie Benning. Benning is primarily known for her manipulation of the FisherPrice toy video-camera which she has used to create seemingly unmediated and extremely raw diaristic self-portraits exploring her own teenage queer sexuality. Radically subverting the prescribed kiddie technology of the pixelvision format, these earlier works like, Me & Rubyfruit (’89) and It Wasn’t Love (’92) document Benning’s growing up in Milwuakee and the isolation of her everyday existence: homophobic anxiety, skipping school, fighting the law and having sex for the first time. In these early works, Benning explodes the myth of “sweet little white girl”; narrating herself as a dyke-criminal, the world of childhood likewise becoming exposed as a dyke-prison.

The newer works exhibited in tonights presentation move away from the diaristic self-portrait, turning the camera on “the world out there.” Commencing is the urban landscape German Song (’95) marking her first collaborative effort with sound artists COME; followed by The Judy Spots (’95) – three PSAs exposing the troubled life of an animated puppet-like character whose brutal childhood history plays itself out in a paranoid adult existence. Building on the bold use of Jiffy Marker “drawings” established in The Judy Spots, the evening concludes with Benning’s most ambitious project to date, Flat is Beautiful (’98). Featuring brilliant performances and fabulous costumes, Flat is remarkable for its narrative emotive engagement and moments of pure poiesis (drag shadow dancing), as well as for its renewed use of pixelvision which lends the film an extraodinary mature and formalist push.

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