The Black Shiny Shoes Opera

Marlene Madison

1996, 07:00 minutes, colour, English


Marlene Madison Plimley ventriloquieses the voice of "theory" as she plays the role of an academic giving an interpretation of The Black Shiny Shoes Opera . In this spoof of academic discourse, she magnifies the binary or bifurcated relation of the theory to the cultural product, appealing almost compulsively to the Opera which appears as short video clips. The discrepancies of interpretation and the enforced closure of meaning enacted by her theorizing upon the camp and absurd scenes of the Opera point to irreconcilable differences between the theoretical and the theatrical/musical. Academic objectivity is further undermined by the fact that the theoretician, albeit in a different costume, is one of the characters in The Black Shiny Shoes Opera. Furthermore, the Opera is a low tech video document of an opera which revolves around the private lives of the performers. The story line suggests that neither academic nor professional distance is possible.

Rental and Sales

Single Screening Rental


Educational Purchase DVD (Bluray +$15)


5 Year Educational Streaming License, Digital File with DVD Circulation Copy


Gallery Exhibition and Installation, complete Media Request form for quote

Institutional Archival Acquisition, complete Media Request form for quote

Curators and programmers, please contact to receive a login and password to preview Vtape titles online.

Screening and exhibition rentals and archival acquisitions include public performance rights; educational purchases or licenses include rights for classroom screenings and library circulation. When placing an order the customer agrees to our general online terms and conditions. Payment (or a purchase order number) and a signed licensing agreement must be received before media can be shipped to the client.