Doug Ischar

2007, 07:30 minutes, colour, English


Bask combines backstage footage from a gay bodybuilding contest with mundane close-ups of the filmmaker’s home. The bodybuilding footage is sensuous and suggestive; a beautiful pale skinned ‘boy’ slowly and meticulously bronzes a somewhat older – and differently beautiful - bodybuilder. Bask uses this bronzing ritual to approach another ‘bronzed’ couple, the notorious DC snipers, both of whom are African American. Here too we find a mature man with a much younger ‘partner.’ Race forms a kind of swelling undercurrent in Bask, one that overtakes the video in its final moments. ‘Two primary programs: to speculatively homoeroticize the ‘snipers,’ and conversely, to ‘tar’ the bodybuilders with the lapsed criminality of homosexual desire (Genet, et al.). In line with these co-minglings of human color, the video uses shifting tonalities – including black and white – to formally surround the couples. It also uses domestic details, many of them sites of cleansing, washing, erasure: solutions of/to color. The audio track consists largely of wind and water sounds – also recorded at the filmmaker’s home - that further evoke washing, erosion, breathing, suffocation.

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