Pipilotti Rist, 1992, 12'03''

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Pipilotti’s objective in this video was to visualise sexual arousal. To do this she used a specially adapted piece of filming equipment – a small surveillance camera. The camera is attached to the stem of a flower and attached to the body of a couple who appear to be making love. The outlines of their bodies are marked by small objects and clothes which evoke the symbolic universality of erotic imagery metaphorically (shell, flowers) and which, as accessories to the visual and erotic pleasure felt by those viewing the film, also provide visual variations. The film centres on a narrative where a couple first meet in a sort of hangar. The couple are then seen lying naked on white sheets and then caressing in a series of images. Then a montage of simplistic mtaphors evoking orgasm (volcano erupting, rapid watercourse) follows these images. The fish-eye image which is slightly unstable and is bathed in intense colour (turquoise, vibrant orange, incandescent pink and overexposed white) is of interest as a truly tactile vision of the body – the skin and the hair are filmed extremely close up and are seen as strange trembling structures. Parts of the body like the feet, the paragon of traditional fetishism, and the eye, the mirror of the soul, become visual objects in themselves. The beauty of the feminine body looses its sacred aura, graphically presented in relation to its direct role in the search for a carnal relationship free of any kind of constraint (as opposed to ideal beauty which is disembodied and constrained). The music throughout structures the erotic progression. Pipilotti is libertarian and humorous and, from time to time, the graphic superimposition of an oblong shape with eye-lash type lines round the edges, evokes the eye as well as the mouth or the vagina, closing up on the images, in such a way as to evoke the action of devouring and of going blind. Quite naturally, the film finishes with an ultra-rapid montage of figurative images of fruits and red, yellow and white tints of colour, before ending with a jazzy tune and a shot of glistening water. Rist has often commented that this film was an attempt at establishing female erotic cultural imagery, and at making the man’s body an object of desire that is both creative and positive. The question of whether this film appeared pornographic seemed trivial to Pipilotti as the main aspect of the film was the sheer visual invention. The immense success of Pickelporno (Pimple porno) owes much to its plastic quality which breaks from the norm and its direct treatment of the subject of sexual relations. The bodies are exhibited but such is the extent of the films inventiveness, claims of voyeurism or pornography cannot be taken seriously. Humour remains omnipresent throughout the film especially in metaphoric orgasm sequences, which are highly stereotypical, but whose visual quality nevertheless transcends this banality and represents jubilation – contagious jubilation which this video communicates to each of its viewers. (LLH)

Description from newmedia-art.org.

  • Date: 1992
  • Length: 12'03''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA