‘Ricerche: three’, 2013
Single channel HD video
Edition of 5 + 1 AP
New commission for ‘Il Pilazzo Enciclopedico’, curated by Massimiliano Gioni
Supported by the International Production Fund, Outset
55th Venice Biennale, 2013
‘Ricerche: three’ uses Pier Paolo Pasolini’s brilliant film, ‘Comizi d’Amore’, the 1963 cinema verite work, as the guidepost for a contemporary inquiry into the “sexual problem” in the United States in 2013. While the political climate in post-war Italy in 1963 was deeply distinct from that of the United States in 2013, both were sites in which a persistent political condition in which so-called value-based policy and ideology act out symptomatically to cover up underlying economic and political vulnerabilities.
‘Ricerche: three’ is the first of a number of works that will collect under the title: ‘Ricerche’. ‘Ricerche: three’, as an expanded (intentionally exaggerated in terms of scale) interview with 35 students at an all-women’s college in western Massachusetts, focuses down on a single site and collective situation. The interview unfolds on camera in such a way that you’re not entirely sure how many people are being interviewed as interviewees slowly add in with the camera, following Sharon Hayes as the interviewer, shifts across the group left to right.
Using the container of an all-women’s college (with only 47 such institutions remaining in the US), ‘Ricerche: three’ attempts to address the contradiction that such gender-segregated institutions are “behind” and “ahead” of the rest of society.
Because many US-born women stopped being as interested in attending all-women’s colleges a few decade ago, these institutions have all had to make various decisions to maintain enrollment and to sustain themselves over time. The institution whose students I am interviewing made a commitment many decades ago to heavily recruit international women. Additionally, these all-women’s schools are always rumored about and fantasized about (in a sense) in the public imagination. In the past, people have seen them as a hot-bed of lesbian activity/sex/sexuality. Many of them also have a new task of accommodating students who decide (after enrollment) to change their gender from female to male. Thus the population attending the school exists on a much wider gender spectrum than the description “all-women’s college” can hold clear.