Talking Tongues (1982) by Lisa Steele

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An excerpt from the video art piece “Talking Tongues” by Canadian video artist Lisa Steele.

The video is a fictional monologue of a battered wife.

Steele's best known early work Birthday Suit – with scars and defects (1974) is a thirteen-minute black and white video tape where she "presents her naked body to the unblinking gaze of the camera". The tape itself is characterized by common practices of early video art, unedited with a static shot.[4] Steele turns the camera on, walks to the end of the room/set and removes her clothing. She approaches the camera and begins to examine the various scars she's accumulated over her life up to that point. The work represents what critic Dot Tuer indicates is "an offering to the technological gaze [which] downplays the representation of the body as a gendered subject,"[5] and as film historian Catherine Russell points out, the work is a "counter-image to the emergent critique of the female body in narrative cinema." [4] Steele's description of the work: On the occasion of my 27th birthday I decided to do a tape that chronicled my passage through time. I have always been clumsy, tripping, dropping, falling with alarming regularity. This tape accepts the extent of the consequences. -------------------- More on