Thursday, April 14, 2011



*Stills by Eija-Liisa Ahtila

A friend of mine asked me to show him some video art I like. He wants to learn more about it and I enjoy show-and-tells so it works out for both of us. Last night we watched the entirety of Eija-Liisa Ahtila's video works (up until 2002). The stories she tells are about intense inner conflicts and are often told through a very subjective female perspective. Sincere, sometimes unflattering and disturbing.

A while ago Helena and I talked about our inability to watch films in which violence is committed against women while in the company of our male partners, or any male friends, because it puts us in a defensive mood. Kind of like "How dare you sit here and watch this with me, are you secretly enjoying this?!" etc etc... the feeling probably comes out of fear that the people we trust have the potential to turn into the monsters we see on screen and from the experience of dealing with unwanted male attention. I'm telling you this because last night when my friend asked me what Ahtila's films were about I felt a bit upset. While I clearly knew the answer inside, I couldn't articulate it - maybe because it felt so familiar. The film was about female anxiety. Her characters' idiosyncratic, at times almost psychotic behaviour looked bizarre on film but I knew that in reality those events are just something that happens. And when it happens in real life it's quiet, unnoticeable and doesn't really feel that bizarre or unusual at all. I felt upset when I couldn't explain that on the spot and a bit ashamed, almost as if my identifying with the women was something to be worried about.

Next up: Richard Kerr, Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gomez-Pena



In other news: this morning's been all about catching up with a good pal on another continent. And this (link)
and that:

1 comment:

DFMH said...

John Maus is my best friend.