SOME KIND OF LOVING
Films and videos by: Peggy Ahwesh, Stephanie Barber, Jane Gang, Jennifer Reeder, Karen Yasinsky
“I took this opportunity to speak to the unique fanbase Joanie 4 Jackie had built up: Teenage girls ordering tapes by mail and watching them in the privacy of their own homes. I wanted to share visions made by women that didn’t match the bland images of hetero romance that teens saw on television and in movie theaters at that time. I made a tape of awkwardness, trauma, conflicted women, cunnilingus, unshaved pussy, listlessness, failed marriages, and child-initiated explorations of sexuality. And I selected work made on tiny budgets, whose means of production were more accessible than those at the movie theater: home videos slowed down, hand-sewn dolls animated through stop-motion, scratched film, found footage, and humble Super-8.” (Astria Suparak, “Behind the Scenes and On the Stage with Joanie 4 Jackie,” The Getty blog)
Some Kind of Loving is the 3rd and final tape in the Joanie 4 Jackie Co-Star Series, whose previous tapes were curated by Miranda July and Rita Gonzalez. It is accompanied by a booklet with the motivations of each artist. J4J was an underground film network for women and girls initiated by artist Miranda July in 1995.
In 2017, The Getty announced the acquisition of the complete Joanie 4 Jackie Archive, which includes Some Kind of Loving and related personal and business correspondence, press materials, and notes from Astria Suparak’s collection.
1. No Place Like Home #1, Karen Yasinsky, film on video
It begins with Dorothy’s red slippers. They allowed her to live out a fantasy in which she was the center of attention, strongly desired by forces both good and evil. She got to live in a surreal world, lovingly attended to by 3 middle-aged men. She conquered evil and returned home safely. (Yasinsky)
2. No Place Like Home #2, Karen Yasinsky, film on video
3. Fine Lines, Jane Gang, Super-8mm, 5 min.
“Repression breeds fine lines.” The content is about child abuse – parental misuse of power and disregard for a very young person’s healthy development. As a result of continual abuse, whatever the form, all areas of that child’s life are negatively affected. (Gang)
4. Lullaby, Jennifer Reeder, video, 18 min.
I remember Madonna in the early 1980’s. I was young (pre-teen). Her music made me feel sexy before I knew what sexy was, and it made me hopeful before I realized that the world is a very difficult place. As an adult woman, I often emote as I did when I was 11. This tape is a homage to that young girl, how perfectly beautiful and perfectly mean life can be. (Reeder)
5. pornfilm, Stephanie Barber, 16mm film
Pornfilm is a short film about love and sex, about the narratives of each. A woman reads a brief story about an actor’s real life marriages; failure and later ‘wedded bliss.’ The reading is stiff, awkward and stumbling. The images are of two actors having sex; with an investigatory band ping ponging back and forth, an incessant watching and exposing. (Barber)
6. Martina’s Playhouse, Peggy Ahwesh, Super-8mm, 20 min.
I had shot a lot with young Martina and her mother Diane over the years and consider this film like a self-aware home movie made with the complicity of the characters, knowingly shot from a female-privileged perspective. (Ahwesh)
Total running time: 60 minutes
Screenings included selections from Some Kind of Loving plus special guest works and performances. The line-up changed at every show. The following program is one version that screened at the Aurora Picture Show in Houston in 2002.
1. Lullaby, Jennifer Reeder, video, excerpt of 18 min. work as intro installation.
“Lullaby is a hard tape. It is seductive and sad at the same time. I remember Madonna in the early 1980’s. I was young (pre-teen). Her music made me feel sexy before I knew what sexy was and moreover, her music made me hopeful before I realized (as most do as they approach/live through their teens and beyond) that the world is a very difficult place. As an adult woman, I often emote as I did when I was 11. This tape is a gentle homage to that young girl. Lullaby reminds me how perfectly beautiful and at the same time, perfectly mean life can be.” – J.R.
2. The Drifters (excerpt), Miranda July, audio, 1:13 minutes
“These are selections from 20 short recordings Miranda made for the elevator in the Whitney Museum, currently playing there as part of the Whitney Biennial. This is what they were saying when you couldn’t quite hear, it was all about adults loving other people’s children, risks taken with disastrous results and women aging suddenly.” – M.J.
3. Self-reflecting, Kirsten Stoltmann, video, 1 min.
A brooding one-liner accompanied by the kitchen sink and a bikini.
“Possibly, this is a self-portrait of the artist, but she’s not sure.” – K.S.
4. Drop That Baby Again, Karen Yasinsky, video, 5 min.
Absent-minded women, curiously forgiving husbands, and plastic babies. Based on a true story.
5. Fine Lines, Jane Gang, Super-8mm, 5 min.
“The content is about child abuse – parental misuse of power and disregard for a very young person’s healthy development. As a result of continual abuse, whatever the form, all areas of that child¹s life are negatively affected.” – J.G.
6. Atlanta, Miranda July, video, 10 min.
A 12 year-old Olympic swimmer and her mother (both played by July) speak to the public about “going for the gold.”
7. letters, notes, Stephanie Barber, 16mm, silent, 5 min.
Letters found by the filmmaker set against colorful photos of easy living in the Seventies. Barber writes: “stillness and action in the smallest moments which suggest a life. how to insert a memory. very small suggestions of the enormity of our days.”
8. Martin’s Playhouse, Peggy Ahwesh, Super-8mm, 20 min.
“Martina’s Playhouse is my last Super 8mm film, made in 1989. I had shot a lot with young Martina and her mother Diane over the years and consider this film like the other Super 8s, a self-aware home movie made with the complicity of the characters, knowingly shot from a female-privileged perspective. The film is all improvisation and long-take– but with close friends who know what might be interesting or how far they can push the envelope.” – P.A.
9. Good Together, Miranda July, audio, 52 seconds.
Last updated: 2004
Produced by: Joanie 4 Jackie
Distributed by: K Records and Astria Suparak
Available at: La Centrale (Montreal), DIA Center for the Arts Bookshop, FACT Centre (Liverpool), The Museum of Modern Art Store, The New Museum Store, Printed Matter, Spoonbill and Sugartown Books, Vancouver Art Gallery Store, The Whitney Museum Shop, and various cinematheques and video rental, record and book stores.
Included in the collections of: Concordia University Library, The Getty Research Institute, Johns Hopkins University Libraries, Kenyon College Library, Orange County Museum of Art, Pierogi Gallery, University of California San Diego Library, University of Florida, University of Georgia Library, University of Iowa Libraries.
NEW YORK TIMES, T MAGAZINE:
“Twenty-two years after the project began, the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has acquired the Joanie 4 Jackie collection (some 300 videos, documentation and press materials) from July, contextualizing the project within feminist and queer history, alongside the archives of, among others, the Guerrilla Girls and Robert Mapplethorpe. […]
[Miranda July writes:] ‘I was not as film-savvy as many of the women I met through the project. I began to learn about experimental film and video artists from these women, and I wanted to share this work with the Joanie 4 Jackie audience. I invited young curators to put together compilations that I called ‘Co-Star Tapes.’ Rita Gonzales (now at LACMA) and Astria Suparak (an independent curator and professor in the Curatorial Practice program at California College of Art) each created tapes that included rigorous work by artists like SEMEFO (with Teresa Margolles), Ximena Cuevas and Peggy Ahwesh.'”
– Mary Kaye Schilling, “Miranda July Shares Her Vintage Feminist Film Archive,” January 30, 2017
THE GETTY: The Iris
“Throughout the last twenty years, my relationship to Joanie 4 Jackie has evolved from spectator to fan, consumer, event programmer, tour booker, distributor, historian, and curator. Below is a selection of artifacts spanning this time, now available along with the complete archive at joanie4jackie.com.”
– “Behind the Scenes and On the Stage with Joanie 4 Jackie,” Astria Suparak, February 2, 2017
Titled SOME KIND OF LOVING and curated by Astria Suparak, the new installment is an oozing, unctuous bunch of sex films that swings from the low budget Freudian antics in PEGGY AHWESH’s classic “Martina’s Playhouse” to the deconstructive impulses that rip through STEPHANIE BARBER’s “pornfilm.” All six films in the collection traipse through uncharted sexual terrain, using rough-and-ready low-end video and an appealing anti-aesthetic. Coarse and scruffy, yes, but also very hot, in a weird sort of way.
– December 2000
SOME KIND OF LOVING, curated by Astria Suparak, features five different filmmakers presenting pieces shot using various techniques [including super-8, home video, and stop-motion animation] about sex, women, and modern culture. I love this compilation and the series idea, and will look forward to seeing what JOANIE 4 JACKIE comes out with next. If you have any interest at all in women in film and video today, you should definitely get this tape.
– Kristin, Spring 2001
THE WILLAMETTE WEEK:
Of the five films to be screened, the Brakhagian “Fine Lines” by Britain’s JANE GANG is a haunting rant against the death of perception, while JENNIFER REEDER’s “Lullaby” is a disturbing collision between pop culture and personal identity.
– Steffen Silvis
PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVES:
Some Kind of Loving “tracks female sexuality through the quagmire of loony and lascivious cultural codes.” – Steve Seid, Curator, 2000
Variations on the Some Kind of Loving theme:
Sexuality Malfunctioned – (Performance) Anxiety, Ambivalence, Anticipation.
Curated by Astria Suparak, Film Series Director at Pratt Institute, Sexuality Malfunctioned’s entire program runs less than ninety minutes but will nevertheless prove daunting to the Marcus-minded masses. Nothing fits easily in these short films and videos (and one audio-piece) – either the soundtrack sits uncomfortably on top of the image like a Coke can floating in a pond or a variety of devices are used to obscure the image or both. This is doubly disorienting because much of the imagery is pornographic and violent (often simultaneously) and the tweaking offers little moral edification.
Still, because Suparak has programmed Sexuality Malfunctioned like a perfectly coherent essay, one need only keep in mind her précis from the program notes to begin to see how these bursts of mismatching energy actually signify: “Dis-ease and uncomfort within desire explored through techniques such as hand-painting, manipulated found-footage (and pornography), optical printing and stop-motion animation. Sexual development in the age of the spectacle.”
That description definitely brings an ecstatic question mark of a film like Stephanie Barber’s, who has taught in UWM’s film department, six-minute Pornfilm (1998) more into focus. A shaky reading of a news item on Regis Philbin’s breakup with his alcoholic wife Kay becomes the new soundtrack to an anonymous porn loop which is further manipulated by a white block that scans vertically back and forth over the image. Then Barber cuts to a brief animated segment of little snowflake-like wheels dancing in white space to (or under, more precisely?) an opera aria. Hmm.
For sure, there’s no way to assign a definite take on sex or sexuality here leaving a somewhat frightening void where one would normally find a conscience (or consciousness) – even the “S. Barber” tag at the end possesses a sort of renegade anonymity. But isn’t the underlying idea of a take in cinema to denote that there exists a right or even perfect way to film something? Or, by extension, to fuck someone?
It’s difficult to formulate any questions about Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley’s 1987 video Family Tyranny (Modeling and Molding) much less derive answers from it. You can’t even tell who was responsible for such a nightmarish vision (frequently attributed to the above duo, the director is listed as Nancy Buchanan). It just takes you to this awful, awful place for eight minutes where a father force feeds a surrogate (Styrofoam?) son through a funnel. The son soon materializes as a moaning bundle of hopelessness like an idiot from a Beckett play. He tries to escape through a window in their Astroturfed set, cowers under a table and eventually leaves for school with the father taunting him most of the time. At the end, he’s a little boy doll that dad bathes/drowns in a tin cup of watery plaster (?). Apart from Christopher Rage’s fisting video Fucked Up and accidentally playing a 45 rpm Virgin Prunes 12″ on 33 when I was thirteen, this is the most disturbing artistic experience of my life.
Other highlights include Miranda July’s audio piece “WSNO” – a painful talk radio parody where the host takes calls only from people with secrets; Laura Parnes’ Performance (1995) and Talent Show (1996) which juxtaposes found footage of an 8th grade talent show in the former and young boys lip-syncing in the latter combined with Truth or Truth early sex litanies; Luther Price’s Sodom which I haven’t seen but I’m told has had many offended walk-outs (I’m there!!); and if you can make the show in Madison the night before (9pm, Starlight Cinema), the program replaces the Barber and Price films with two terrific films by Peggy Ahwesh, Martina’s Playhouse which comes across as an exploration into the last shot of Milena in Bad Timing – A Sensual Obsession (three-year old girl forges narratives outside the Master’s house) and The Color of Love which is dedicated to Doris W bishman (guess I’ll have to give Bad Girls Go To Hell another look). – Kevin John
P.S. Of course, I’ve seen Luther Price’s Sodom now (this article was a preview of the show) and indeed it prompted at least two walk-outs (I have to admit that they only served to rev up the film’s already very, very powerful motor). In its refusal to offer an escape route to the viewer (covering your eyes would probably be more terrifying and plugging your ears certainly doesn’t comfort), Sodom reminded me of Richard Kern’s great art-porn depictions of The Inferno such as Submit To Me and Submit To Me Now. But textuality is more diseased in Sodom – the eventually backwards chants invoking nausea on the soundtrack; the circles of quick-cut imagery breaking through the surface like a chancre; the pre-condom gay porn competing for foreground with footage of immolation (?) and cultish (?) masses. If an aftermath can be assigned to all this bedlam, it only promises burning sensations during urination and much, much worse to come.
– Kevin John
METRO SANTA CRUZ: “ArtBeat,” Hiya Swanhuyser, November 8, 2000.
THE SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT: “New York Film Frame of Mind,” Duncan Wright, November 2000.
THE BELLINGHAM HERALD: “Film on the edge,” Korry Keeker, Oct. 19, 2000.
GOOD TIMES: “Sex from the City,” Christa Martin, November 9, 2000. “Both women [Astria Suparak and Miranda July] are dedicated to working on underground, independent films instead of immersing themselves in the Hollywood scene.”
See more press on the Joanie 4 Jackie Archive here.
SOME KIND OF LOVING TOUR: All Night Long with Miranda July and Astria Suparak
In celebration of the videotape release, Some Kind of Loving:
Performing artist and videomaker Miranda July performs sneak previews excerpted from her new multi-media performance (The Swan Tool) with original live score by Zac Love.
Suparak presents work from the sparkling-new Joanie 4 Jackie Co- Star Tape #3: Some Kind of Loving.
Oct. 24, 2000
@ Allied Arts Performance Space, Bellingham, WA
Oct. 25, 2000
@ Blinding Light!! Cinema, Vancouver, BC
Oct. 26, 2000
The Olympia Film Festival
@ The Capitol Theater, Olympia, WA
Oct. 27, 2000
@ The Little Theatre, Seattle, WA
Oct. 28, 2000
@ The Hollywood Theatre, Portland, OR
Nov. 7, 2000
@ The Blue Room Theatre, Chico, CA
Nov. 8, 2000
@ San Francisco Art Institute. Guest lecture in Jon Rubin’s New Genres class, San Francisco, CA
Nov. 8, 2000
@ Pacific Film Archive / Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA
Nov. 9, 2000
The Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz, CA
Nov. 10, 2000
@ San Francisco Cinematheque at the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
Nov. 11, 2000
@ Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara Community College, Santa Barbara, CA
Nov. 13, 2000
@ The Bijou Theater, CalArts, Valencia, CA
Nov. 14, 2000
@ Broad Performance Space, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
Nov. 16, 2000
L.A. Freewaves Festival: Special Events and Performances
@ Side Street Projects, Los Angeles, CA
OTHER SCREENINGS AND EXHIBITIONS:
July 22, 2000
@ Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH
Presented by Miranda July.
March 4, 2001, 8-10pm
@ Lux Centre’s Biennial Festival: Pandaemonium 2001, London, England
Miranda July presents her new video Getting Stronger Everyday along with a selection of works from Joanie 4 Jackie’s Co-Star Tape #3: Some Kind of Loving, curated by Astria Suparak.
Feb. 14, 2002, 8pm- 1am*
As part of “Awkward Seductive Organs” curated by Mika Yoshitake. Poetry and performance, art and video.
@ El Adobe Studios, 5023 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
May 19, 2002, 8pm
Joanie 4 Jackie Co-Star Tapes event, with Suparak’s Some Kind of Loving and Rita Gonzalez’s I Saw Bones. With Special Guest tapes.
@ The Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora St., Houston, TX
Aug. 7-31, 2003*
Summer Salon Group Exhibition, organized by C. Finley. Includes painting, photography, video, film, digital media, sculptures and installations by Sara Reeske, Toyshop Collective, Mickalene Thomas, English Kills, and A. Suparak’s curated videotape Some Kind of Loving.
@ Dumba Art Collective, 57 Jay St., Brooklyn, NY
March 13, 2005
FESTIVAL MIX MONTERREY
Screening of Some Kind of Loving (Algun Tipo De Amor)
@ Cineteca, Parque Fundidora Ave. y a. Prieto; Obrera; N.L., Monterrey, Mexico
Some Kind of Loving + Joanie 4 Jackie were included in the following exhibitions:
March 29 – June 29, 2008
The Way That We Rhyme: Women, Art & Politics*
@ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Curated by YBCA Associate Curator Berin Golonu. Artists include: Lisa Anne Auerbach, Andrea Bowers, Nao Bustamante, Tammy Rae Carland, Vaginal Davis, Eve Fowler with Math Bass, Deborah Grant, MK Guth, Taraneh Hemami, Miranda July and Shauna McGarry, LTTR, Leslie Labowitz and Suzanne Lacy, Aleksandra Mir, Laurel Nakadate, Shinique Smith, subRosa, SWOON and Tennessee Jane Watson, The Counterfeit Crochet Project organized by Stephanie Syjuco, The Toxic Titties, Jessica Tully, and RiotGrrl zines from the Independent Publishing Resource Center, Portland.
Feb. 16 – May 30, 2011
Looking at Music 3.0*
@ Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Looking at Music 3.0, the third in a series of exhibitions exploring the influence of music on contemporary art practices, focuses on New York in the 1980s and 1990s. In this dynamic period, imaginative forms of street art spread across the five boroughs, articulating the counter-culture tenor of the times. As the city transitioned from bankruptcy to solvency, graffiti, media, and performance artists took advantage of low rents and collaborated on ad hoc works shown in alternative spaces and underground clubs. Appropriation, also known as remixing, thrived. Approximately 70 works from a wide range of artists and musicians will be on view, including works by the Beastie Boys, Kathleen Hanna and Le Tigre, Keith Haring, Christian Marclay, Steven Parrino, Run DMC, and Joanie 4 Jackie, a video chain letter founded by Miranda July. Organized by Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art.
Sept. 21, 2013 – Feb. 16, 2014
@ Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
March 7 – April 27, 2014
@ Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 24, 2014 – Jan. 25, 2015
@ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Feb. 15 – May 17, 2015
@ Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
Sept. 3, 2015 – Jan. 9, 2016
@ Pacific Northwest College of Art: Feldman Gallery & Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR
The first exhibition to examine the lasting impact of Riot Grrrl on artists and cultural producers working today, Alien She provides a view into the passion and diversity of the original movement and highlights how these ideas have broadened, evolved and mutated in the work of contemporary artists.
* denotes exhibition