Conceptual artist Sophie Calle made her first foray into video with Double-Blind, structured around that ultimate American mode, the road trip. It’s January 1992, and she begins the new year with plans to travel cross-country to California, where she’s to begin teaching, and to symbolically bury her friend, the writer Hervé Guibert, to whom the tape is dedicated. She’s joined by her then-boyfriend Greg Shephard, and the two chart a course in his temperamental Cadillac. The story of their time together is seen from both perspectives, with a competing voiceover running throughout, as they describe their impressions of the journey and the shifting dynamic of their affections. Shephard wonders, “The video kept us together, but now that it is finished what will become of us?” Preceded by a rather different kind of diary, from video art pioneer Shigeko Kubota. Her piece, chronicling a month-long stay in the Navajo Nation, functions more like an experimental home movie, for which she used the image-processing tools at WNET’s Television Laboratory to transform intimate moments with her new friends into vibrantly polychromatic compositions.
Double-Blind (aka No Sex Last Night)
Sophie Calle and Greg Shephard, USA, 1992, 76m
Video Girls and Video Songs for Navajo Sky
Shigeko Kubota, USA, 1973, 32m