THE FAITHFUL installation | 16 mm film transferred to HD | 2011
In a large room of a galley or public site, two walls facing each other are covered by video projections displaying a series of portraits originally shot on 16mm film. On one wall a succession of men are posing alone next to a pool table at Touché, Chicago’s oldest leather bar. There are six men of different ages, styles, body types and races. The performers all look directly in the camera. The framing remains the same for the six shots. Each shot is the length of a hundred feet of film complete with the leader and flares at the beginning and end of each roll. On the opposite wall, five men are posing in front of a mural within the same formal system. Once projected in a room, the men will appear to be cruising each other from opposite sides of a virtual bar. Since the number of portraits is not the same on each wall, when the videos loop, the men will be flirting with a different partner.
The project engages in a disappearing act, it aims for a conflicting sense of loss, nostalgia and resilience. Black and White 16mm film is on the fast track toward extinction while gay bars have taken a hard hit from the proliferation of Internet hook-up websites but regardless of their digital competition, neither has conceded defeat. Bars are still the locus of the gay community while the materiality and texture of 16mm will always have a strong hold on artists and experimental filmmakers. And above all, men will always cruise other men, regardless of risks, prejudices and oppression.
More information on The Faithful on the Walker Art Center website
The Faithful [Documentation]
Video documentation of The Faithful taken during the The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics at the Sullivan Gallery in Chicago.
Categories: solo work