Birthday Robe (with scars and dysphoria)

James Diamond

2021, 05:00 minutes, English


This is a remount of a classic experimental video by artist Lisa Steele called Birthday Suit - with scars and defects (1974). It's not the first and might not be the last remake, but it's a 5-minute video that explores most of my scars, and it brings my own personal agenda to the game. I made it with the help of community and funders' support. It's my first grant project and my first attempt at consciously copying/playing with someone else's work. In it I explore my body with the lens and recall my many injuries and surgeries I have encountered to date. It was made in Montreal, Quebec on Mohawk+ territories in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. I am 43 at the time. It was very healing and the next time I was injured the process was much more real than in the past. It was an extremely healing process. I am not the same since making it and will forever be changed. It made me more respectful of my trans , mentally ill, sexually abused, growing, jewish, changing, aging body. It was made possible with the help of Anna Leventhal, who wrote the grant with me. And Rickie Leach, who helped with the writing of this synopsis and the credits. I deeply appreciate the witnesses who make this real for me by sharing energy and experiential human vibes. I am forever grateful for the chance to be an artist in this world of square boxes with labels. I get to be a strange shape exploring the world and I.

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