Spin Cycle

Lisa Birke

2012, 01:30 minutes, colour

TAPECODE 1051.05

Spinning together cliché and the profound, and the sublime and the ridiculous, “Spin Cycle” examines stereotypical notions of femininity. In cinema, the physical act of spinning often represents a childish form of play in that it upsets a normative balance between mind and body, and an adult sense of equilibrium. It is thus used as a symbol of a joyous and youthful abandon. This is seen in the epic opening sequence of The Sound of Music where we meet Maria, spinning opened-armed atop a mountain meadow. We are meant to see her as possessing a childish enthusiasm with a slightly rebellious spirit, ill-suited to life as a nun. Female spinning has also been used as a magical transformative device in the adventures of Wonder Woman, a trope that has been adapted and revealed so brilliantly by Dara Birnbaum in her video Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman. In “Spin Cycle” the act of spinning is pushed to an extreme of endurance. The act becomes nauseating and hysterical. It leads to the inevitable fall of our heroine.

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