utorak, 26. veljače 2013.

Steve Reinke - Anal Masturbation & Object Loss + 100 Videos

David Sedaris kanadske video-umjetnosti.Život nije zasnovan na mišljenju i percepciji, nego na selektivnosti, izborima i razlučivanjima. Svega ima previše - moraš biti selektivan, ili ćeš nestati. Informacije u knjigama sa zaljepljenim stranicama su tu ali nitko se ne mora gnjaviti njihovim upijanjem.


Anal Masturbation & Object Loss

The artist decides to found his own art school and begins by assembling materials for the library. Finding too many words are available, he glues together the unnecessary pages of books.
Ever on the lookout for learning opportunities, Reinke envisions an art institute where you don't have to make anything, and with a library full of books glued together. All the information's there — you just don't have to bother reading it! (New York Video Festival catalogue 2002)
Reinke is the David Sedaris of Canadian video, though usually smuttier. Or at least that's how I explain his comical first person accounts of his obsessions and neuroses. He packs his ambitious The Hundred Videos (1990-96) and Sad Disco Fantasia with smart observations, but his cleverness occasionally wears thin. Anal Masturbation and Object Loss is one of his finest pieces yet. The image is minimal: a shot of Reinke glue sticking the pages of a book together. On the soundtrack, he explains his fantasy about a library where all the books have been sealed shut: all the information remains there, but no one has to bother reading it. He also explains "what's wrong with psychoanalysis," recounting his disappointment in reading Freud's "Anal Masturbation and Object Choice." Rather than delivering on the promise of its title, the case history tells of a girl who couldn't go to he bathroom after her brother died. Reinke asks, "Why isn't it called 'Constipation and Fraternal Death'?" Why, indeed.” (Best Film and Television of 2002 by Lucas Hilderbrand)

[To see this video, click here.]

The Steve Machine
“With every exquisite sentence, The Steve Machine undertakes a stunning post-millennial inversion of Death in Venice, proposing video artist Steve Reinke as a latter-day Tadzio. Only this time, the plague bestows the gift of a talking cure. Wry, wise and hilarious, The Steve Machine is an utterly audacious plague journal, transposing the shimmering brilliance of Hoolboom's filmmaking onto the printed page.” John Greyson
Dr. Phil is a large professional man with a voice like children whispering in the dark. He's been a regular on Oprah so I see him pretty often. There are some weeks, when the guests are threatening to crack under the weight of parental neglect, erectile dysfunction or high school bullying, that I might see him every day. Much more than my friends at any rate. Dr. Phil says that while you might meet hundreds of people in your life, there are no more than half a dozen on the A list. If your life was a movie these names would appear before the title. There's something else he said that quickened the pulse. Dr. Phil insists that accompanying the six (more or less) guest stars, there are just eight significant events. The first is birth. Don't ask me how he knows, but when I look into that kind, smiling face I know it must be true. The eyes of Dr. Phil have seen the end of our days and come back to tell the story, and not only am I grateful to him, I've started counting. Eight moments, that's how long it takes to get to the raw, beating heart of a life.
Set in the art world, this comic novel about AIDS tells the story of a young man's adventures in the Toronto underground. There he meets his mentor, the mysterious television artist Steve Reinke, who creates videotapes which cure insomnia and uncover secret patterns in the stock exchange. But can Steve's art save his dying friends?
"The most complicated machines are made only with words." Jacques Lacan

Auden is the books' narrator, and after arriving in Toronto he sets out to create a life his new illness won't stick to, he tries to become a stranger so that his illness won't recognize him any more. He makes friends with people he doesn't like, visits bars he has no interest in, wears clothes he wouldn't wear even if that was his full time job. In the midst of his personality make-over he meets Steve, who has been fortunate in everything but love, and together they set out on an adventure of love, loss and laughter.
“His skin is a kind of camouflage, allowing him to meet the same person over and over, enjoy the same conversation and best of all, recount the same jokes. I was never sure how he did this exactly, and he was reluctant to demonstrate, telling me finally, "It's not something you can turn on or off Auden." I don't move in the chair as he runs a hand over my shoulders, down my back to the small pinched nerves at the base. He never looks at me, he stares, as if distracted, into some dim corner of the room, though this doesn't upset me. Not at all. Only I can't stop my face from asking, never tiring of the question: who will love me?”
In a double twist this book is also a machine, like one of Steve's tapes. And there's no need to ask the bookseller for an extra switch, pulley or button, this book machine can be operated simply by reading it. Exactly what does this machine produce? That is the real mystery that lies between the covers of The Steve Machine.
‘I love this book, though I prefer the original title, Steve Reinke, The Greatest Video Artist in the World.' — The real-life Steve Reinke
Order it now for $19.95 (free shipping in Canada!): http://www.chbooks.com/catalogue/index.php?ISBN=1552452026
The cover of The Steve Machine was made by media artist Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay (www.nemerofsky.ca). I was in Montreal showing something that would never be seen again at the Mois de la Photo and we were ghosting through artist spaces together. Every few minutes he would stop and make another casually perfect picture. Oh that. And then again, and again. Every time he lifts his camera-eye the world re-arranges itself into something precious and beautiful. The home page of this site is also by him, but it was too low-res for the book cover, so on the next trip back we fulfilled my oldest fantasy and stage managed a déjà vu. Of course, picture after picture went by and none seemed quite as complete as the original. When it was over we had the same summery conversation we'd started months back. Heaven.

Steve Reinke
Steve Reinke’s show ‘Hobbit Love Is the Greatest Love’ was something of an anthology of the Canadian video-maker’s career: two hard drives and two monitors gave viewers access to his recent material as well as to ‘The Hundred Videos’ (1989–96), his own anthology of his work as a young man. The inventory is key to Reinke’s practice, in which semi-confessional videos assemble musings on critical theory and pop songs, desires and fantasies, historical events and pornography, offering him endless permutations of ways to make ironic but pointed juxtapositions. Andy (1997), for example, contrasts a man listing his dull decorating choices in minute detail (colour scheme: cream, ivory and off-white) while appearing in different choices of underwear, rubbing his cock for the camera as though proffering a series of pornography options. Reinke pounces on the moment when the presence of two items in a list creates a levelling of unlikely objects. In his Anal Masturbation and Object Loss (2002) he is shown gluing together the pages of the texts ‘Oral Autoerotic, Aggressive Behaviour and Oral Fixation’ and ‘Anal Masturbation and Object Loss’ (an act that gained unexpected resonance after reading in the last issue of frieze (issue 120) about the censoring of a homo-erotic text by Cerith Wyn Evans, by gluing its pages together after the catalogue was printed). In the video Reinke explains that he is preparing a library for his new art school, in which discourse will be limited to three subjects: classical rhetoric, theosophy and Martin Heidegger – and Heidegger ‘not as a philosophic system but as a series of provocative compound words’. Following on from this move from philosophy to words, the commentary then considers the relation between meaning and physical space occupied – for example, by glued-together books or the projection of a video in a gallery – while also lampooning Heideggerian etymological riffs and the desire for a precision of meaning (‘I would like anal masturbation to refer only to anal masturbation’) so drastic that ideas turn from sculptures to objects to placeholders (‘Object Loss’). The film is a tour de force.
In the gallery – the temporary exhibition site of LUX, a distribution agency for artists’ moving image works – Reinke arranged photographs of American servicemen who died in Iraq in order of their looks (The American Military Casualties of the Second Gulf War for Whom Photographs Were Available as of November 6, 2006, Arranged by Attractiveness, 2006), again provocatively inverting conventional organizing principles but also pushing to an extreme his persona as gay aesthete, interested only in ‘flowers and boys’, as he puts it in one film, or even as gay pervert, delivering immodest confessions and fantasies in his friendly, almost hokey, Canadian accent. Such an alter ego – or just ego in extremis – is one of the most interesting aspects of Reinke’s practice, suggesting not only a sustained project of construction of the self (similar to his penchant for turning individual videos into larger projects – such as ‘The Hundred Videos’ or his current series ‘Final Thoughts’, which will continue, he says, until he dies) but also his investigation of the way in which art theory, the diaristic form of avant-garde cinema and home use of videos has developed a rhetoric of conflating the technological apparatus of the video with one’s own ordering and remembering capacity: mind as machine, memory as pop songs and Super-8 reels, happiness as photographed flowers. By trespassing and acting within these genres Reinke’s videos push to the limit the capacity of the videotape to function as a means of ‘making sense’ of material, whether this material is a library, a philosophical system, sexuality or the self. Melissa Gronlund

Why I Hate Steve Reinke

Why I Hate Steve Reinke
[Pleasure Dome catalogue essay for Why I Like Ugly Boys: recent videos by Steve Reinke
Dec. 14 2002 Toronto]

Please imagine as you read these words that they are not written, that you are not reading them, but rather that you are hearing them as the voiceover of a video whose imagery is cobbled from easily-obtained and un-artificed snatches of reality. Whether the speaker has recorded these images himself or grabbed them from the whirl of extant moving pictures is irrelevant - and if his voice doesn’t say so outright, it certainly implies it. This voice has a cadence so haltingly soothing, and deploys its vocabularic arsenal with such a deceptive sense of ease, that it persuades you that listening is enough. Yes, keep your eyes open, but only because it doesn’t matter what you see; all objects belong to the same world, and here they are.
Every artwork has its ideal medium, and not all of them choose the proper one. This world is full of films that should have been essays, essays that should have been pop songs, pop songs that should have been paintings. Steve Reinke’s videos implicitly apologize for not being prose, for living on videotape only to fill an art-production quota in advancement of their maker’s chosen career. Each of them is unassailable, protected by self-deprecating admission of its own technical modesty and ulterior motives. Thus do I hate Steve Reinke: as I hate a lover who persuades me, with superhuman eloquence, to overlook her shortcomings again and again — who makes of these very shortcomings a virtue, an extended pleasure-based apology.
But how effortless it must be! I can hardly wait to turn on the camera and emit some vacuum-sealed cleverness which would better reside on the printed page but which I choose to render VO because video’s where it’s at. I hate Steve Reinke like I hate George Lucas — not because I dislike Star Wars but because of all the pale imitators it spawned (21st-century Lucas included). It’s more complex, however, in Reinke’s case, because I can feel him making me one of those same pale imitators, fooling me time and time again into thinking Yes, It Is Just That Easy.
Please imagine, as you watch Afternoon (March 22, 1999), that you are viewing it as I did. You are alone at home, watching Reinke videos on a TV at 3 PM, feeling the days shorten outside your window, immobilized by a petty depression and bounded by the feeling that immediate productive activity is both imperative and impossible. The video mirrors this state, physically and mentally, in a way which you persuade yourself to believe to be spiritually strengthening. It allows you to almost stave off the thought that soon you’ll have to eject the tape and be once more faced with the physical world and the prospect of doing something with it. Afternoon, like much of Reinke’s work, is a diagnosis of cinema as a terminal case, a tired glut of exhausted possibility that doesn’t yet know it’s dead. I fear that this afternoon will end very soon; I fear more that it will last forever.
Like all of us, Reinke is waiting for the rebirth of art, but he’s decided to roll camera while he waits. As I watch and wait with him, I can’t help but feel that the histories of cinema and of video art are being summarized for me — I have no need to educate myself further because it all led to this point anyway. So I hate Steve Reinke like I hate Cole’s Notes, people who try to convince me that it’s okay to use Cole’s Notes, and myself for using Cole’s Notes.
But of course all of my professed hatred is so much surface decoy based on purposeful fallacy, like Reinke’s apologetic tone. He pretends to be a chronic disappointment, but his pretense delivers satisfaction. He sermonizes on the impossibility of innovation, but his homilies refuse to practise what they preach. Reinke’s videos may ride on the charm of their apparent slapdash nature, but they embody the tension between a vocalized romp through the infinite playground of thought and a visible tether to things exactly as they are. This tension could go by another name, which is “yearning”, and I believe it to be intrinsic to good and essential art.
This little essay yearns to be a little video, but it doesn’t know what images to use; it yearns to express its yearning as well as Reinke keeps doing (second-generation yearning at best). I yearn (let’s come clean, now) to be Steve, and if I do hate him for anything, it’s a dismissible, untoothed cousin of hate, better classified as amicable envy. We all yearn to be a million people and places at once, a million other than this one right here. Reinke’s videos echo and intensify this yearning even as they tighten the noose of specificity around our collective neck — and so they perform a curious marriage between ethereality and fact. The consummation of this marriage dances unceasingly away into the imaginary future, but Reinke is content (or at least contentedly discontent) to keep looking for it, as are we to keep watching him look.
Daniel Cockburn
December 2002


The Hundred Videos 289 min., 1989 — 1996


Other Works
Needle Work . 2012.
Some Drawings. Ink on paper, 9 X 12", 2012.
Needle Work . 2011.
Some Drawings. Ink on paper, 9 X 12", 2011.
Needle Work . 2010.
Some Drawings. Ink on paper, 9 X 12", 2009/2010.
Some Drawings. Ink on paper, 9 X 12", 2008.
Horn House . Audio, 2007.
The American Military Casualties of the Second Gulf War for Whom Photographs Were Available as of November 6, 2006 Arranged by Attractiveness. Four archival inkjet prints, 2007.
Untitled. Felt, found fabric, 2007.
Empathy. Felt, 2007.
History. Felt, 2007.
No Means / All Ends . Archival inkjet print, 2007.
sodomy. Three drawings, 2006.
Family (Mother & Child / Ancestor) . Archival inkjet prints, 2006.
Calling Card (After Piper), Performance kit, multiple, 2005
Guernica, Drawing and found photograph on paper, 2005
Elaborated Frames, Three drawings with found photographs, 2005
Bambi, Text on found pastel drawing, 2005
Garden, Drawing, pigemented gel medium on vellum, 2005
Project for Sound Canopy, Audio installation, 2004
Flask, Engraved pewter flask, multiple, 2004
The Flawed and the Fallen, Found Polaroids with metallic leaf, 2004
Painter, Single channel video installation, vertical orienation, 2004
Duck, Drawings, pigemented gel medium on vellum, 2004
Finnegan's Wake, Audio book, work in progress/abandoned, 2003
Anal Masturbation and Object Loss, Bookwork and print, 2002
Duchamp Wipe, Audio installation / bookwork, 2000
Living in Los Angeles, Three slides for projection in a movie theatre, Curated by Karen Atkinson, Los Angeles, 1999
Untitled, Set of seven laser prints, edition of 33, 1998
Dear Felix, Handwritten text on Gonzales-Torres paper, 1998
Incidents of Travel, Bookwork, 1998
Treehouse, Installation, Power Plant, 1998
Collaborative Drawings, with Jay Wilson, 1998
Collaborative Paintings, with Jay Wilson, 1998
My new boyfriend, Billboard, 1997
The Year in Dreams, Chapbook, Sugar Press, 1997
Mr. Green, Intercative CD-ROM, 1996
Dermaboy, Photograph, 1996

The Shimmering Beast, Coach House Books / Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago / WhiteWalls Inc, 2011.
Blast Counterblast, co-editor Anthony Elms, Mercer Union / WhiteWalls Inc, 2011.
The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema, co-editor Chris Gehman, YYZ Books, 2005.
Everybody Loves Nothing: Video 1997 — 2004, Coach House Press, Toronto, 2004.
Lux: A Decade of Artists' Film and Video, co-editor Tom Taylor, YYZ Books and Pleasure Dome, 2000.
By the Skin of the Tongue: Artist Video Scripts, co-editor Nelson Henricks, YYZ Books, 1997.

Writings, Lectures, Interviews
James Richards, = =, Issue 2, Matt Keegan, ed., 2012.
Nelson Henricks: Mute Rhythms, Nelson Henricks: Time Will Have Passed. Le Temps Aura Passé, Steve Reinke, ed., Galerie Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, 2010.
Nelson Henricks: Rhythmes Muets, Nelson Henricks: Time Will Have Passed. Le Temps Aura Passé, Steve Reinke, ed., Galerie Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, 2010.
On the Beach, Marginal Waters: Doug Ischar, Golden, 2009.
Life Without Life (The Camels Are More Human), Life Without Death: The Cinema of Frank Cole, Mike Hoolboom and Tom McSorley, eds. Canadian Film Institute, 2009.
End of Analog, Essay to accompany the exhibition The End of Analog curated by Eric Fleischauer for Roots and Culture, Chicago, 2009.
The Artist That Therefore I Am, Essay to accompany the exhibition John Marriott: Eavesdropping on Objects YYZ, Toronto, 2008.
Steve Reinke: My Rectum is Not a Grave, Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Movie Artists, Coach House, 2008.
Jim Trainor, Catalogue essay, Aurora 2007: Possible Worlds, 2007.
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin: Chicago, Book review , Prefix Photo 15, 2007.
Ryan Fenchel , Block Auditorium, Northwestern MFA Thesis Exhibition Opening, 2007.
On The Mendi, Panel presentation, Images, 2006
The World is a Cartoon: Stray Notes on Animation, The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema, Chris Gehman & Steve Reinke, eds., YYZ Books & Ottawa Animation Festival, 2005
Reinke Interviewing Kibbins, Grammar & Not-Grammar:Selected Scripts and Essays, Gary Kibbins, Andrew J. Paterson, ed. YYZ Books, 2005
Four Essays on the Occasion of the Robert Lee Retrospective, Images 2005, Festival catalogue, Toronto, 2005
Adad Hannah: Folk and Still, Gallery TPW, 2005
Statement on Statements, Privately circulated document, 2005
Sad Disco Master: Reinke Talks with Hoolboom, Everybody Loves Nothing: Scripts 1997 — 2004, Coach House Press, 2004
The New Everyday (The Day Before Tomorrow). Curatorial essay, Pleasure Dome, Toronto, 2004
Necessary Polarities, Susan Kealey: Ordinary Marvel, edited by Jennifer Rudder, YYZ Books and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, 2003
America Annihilates Consciousness, Program notes, Smart Project, Amsterdam, 2003
Jeanne Randolph's Why Stoics Box, C Magazine, Fall 2003
Art Blog, Centre of Attention, 2003
Notes on My Emigration, Public 25: Experimentalism, Winter 2002
Preliminary Descriptions, Open Hours: An Exhibition by Germaine Koh, McMaster, Hamilton, 2002
Letter from Chicago, C Magazine, Spring 2002
Kitchener-Berlin: Or How One Becomes Two (Or None), Landscape with Shipwreck: First Person Cinema and the Films of Philip Hoffman, ed.Karyn Sandlos & Mike Hoolboom, Insomniac Press, 2001
Video Scripts, Magnetic North: Canadian Experimental Video, ed. Jenny Lion, Minnesota, 2001
Sharon Switzer's Time Out, Redhead Gallery, Toronto, 2001
July, Text for Miranda July screening, Pleasure Dome, 2001
Seltzer Pants, Curatorial essay, Smart Project Space, Amsterdam, 2001
Jeremy Drummond, Text to accompany project for Blueprint catalogue, Pleasure Dome, 2001
Gendering the Nation, Fragment of unpublished book review, 2000
Kuchar 2000, Program notes, Pleasure Dome, 2000
The Blind Necrophile, Alphabet City, Volume 8, Spring 2000
Attack (Retreat), Curatorial essay, Argos Gallery, Brussels, 2000
In every box, a weasel., Exhibition essay for Barb Webb at Open Studio, Toronto, 2000
Untitled Monologues, I've Got to Stop Talking to Myself, ed. John Marriott, 2000
The Story of Lucky Strike, Unpublished non-fiction, 1999
Splice This, Essay for the Splice This! Festival catalogue, 1999
Death Drive 2000, Monologue, unpublished, 1999
Michael Damien Buckland Moppett, Catalogue essay, Gallery TPW, Toronto, 1999
Transmissions, Rejected catalogue essay, Free Parking, Toronto, 1998
Georganne Deen, C Magazine, Fall, 1998
Fresh Acconci, Program notes, Pleasure Dome, 1998
Interview, Tour guides of the Centre Internationale d'Art Contemporain, Montreal, 1998.
Introduction, Plague Years, Mike Hoolboom, (ed. Steve Reinke) YYZ Books, 1998
Donigan Cumming, Incomplete program notes, Pleasure Dome, 1998
Porter, Superstar, The John Porter Film Activity Book, Pleasure Dome, 1998
MCLUHAN/NECROLOGY, Unrealized curatorial proposal, 1998
Introduction, By the Skin of Their Tongues: Artists' Video Scripts, YYZ Books, 1997
Why I am a Surrealist, By the Skin of Their Tongues, YYZ Books, 1997
David Morrow: Aimless Paintings, C Magazine, Summer 1997
Big Dick Time, Curatorial essay, YYZ, 1997
My Next Project, Steve Reinke: The Hundred Videos, ed. Philip Monk, The Power Plant, 1997
Love Flies Through the Air, Mercer Union, 1996
Essay for Duke-U-Menta II, 23rd Room, Toronto, 1996
The George Kuchar Experience, Exhibition catalogue, YYZ/Pleasure Dome, 1996
Forget hysteria..., Curatorial essay on Laurel Woodcock, YYZ, 1996
My Task, 10eme Video Art Plastique, Centre d'Art Contemporain Basse-Normandie, 1996
Stephen Andrews, Unpublished review, 1996
Artist Profile: Joanne Bristol, ICON, February 1996
Artist Profile: Jim Anderson, ICON, January 1996
Review of Corpus Loquendi, (exhibition), Fuse, Vol. 18, No. 6, Winter 1995
Review of Mirror Machine, (book), Fuse,  Vol. 18, No. 5, Fall 1995
Catalogue essay, Duke-U-Menta exhibition, 23rd Room, Toronto, 1994
My Future Plans, Catalogue essay for Moritz Gaede: Stills, Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, 1994
Michael Snow's Music/Sound, Fuse, Volume 17, No 5 + 6, 1994
Some Poems, unpublished
Chaffinch Neurogenesis, Rampike, Vol. 7, No. 3, Spring 1992
Four Prose Poems, Descant, No. 74, Fall 1991
How We Dance, The Malahat Review, No. 90, Spring 1990
Desire in Scorsese's After Hours, cineACTION, Fall 1986


Shedd, Jeremy Stephen. A Bit of This and a Bit of That: Steve Reinke at Gallery 400. f News Magazine, December, 2010
Gronlund, Melissa. Steve Reinke. Frieze, March, 2009
Rehme, Sandra. Steve Reinke: Lux28. Time Out London, December 11, 2008
Wells, Paul and Hardstaff, Johnny. Art as Politics, Politics as Art, Re-Imagining Animation: The Changing Face of the Moving Image, AVA Publishing, 2008.
Davies, Jon. Book Review: The Sharpest Point. Canadian Journal of Film Studies, March 1, 2008
Pugh, Adam. Intra Terrestrials, Catalogue essay, Aurora 2007: Possible Worlds, 2007.
Davies, Jon. Steve Reinke's ruthless untruths. Xtra!, March 1, 2007
Davies, Jon. Irony Rising: The Body and AIDS in the 1980s . Curatorial Inubator, 2007
Mavrikakis , Nicolas. Corps social: Claire Savoie et Steve Reinke. Voir, Feb 1, 2007
Artfag. Steve Reinke. Online review of Cinemateque Ontario screening, Toronto, 2007.
Jager, David. Reinke Rankles. Now Magazine, Feb. 1, 2007.
Waugh, Thomas. The Romance of Transgression in Canada. McGill-Queens Press, 2006.
Hoolboom, Mike. Steve Reinke: 100 Videos. Unpublished ficto-criticism.
Davies, Jon. Review of Everybody Loves Nothing. University of Toronto Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 1, Winter 2006
Paterson, Andrew James. There's Too Much Love in the World. POV, Issue 56, Winter 2004/2005
Ellenberg, Marianna. The Acousmatic Landscape of Steve Reinke’s Video Essays: (or aural and bodily fissure in the digital age). MA Fine Art Media Thesis, Goldsmiths, September 2005
McKay, Sally. 6-17-2005. Online review of Regarding the Pain of Susan Sontag, Gallery TPW, Toronto, 2005
Davies, Jon. Eloquent Ambiguity: Sleazy and sweet imaginings. Xtra!, July 7, 2005
Balzer, David. Regarding the Pain of Susan Sontag. Eye Magazine, July 2005
Gibson, Shay. A Very Personal Look: Toronto Video Art from the 70s to the Present, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, 2005
Davies, Brian Joseph. Everybody Loves Nothing. Geist, Issue 55, Winter 2004
McKay, Sally. 9-23-04. Online review of Everybody Loves Nothing, Book launch, Rivoli, Toronto, 2004
Artfag. Steve Reinke. Online review of Robert Birch exhibition, Toronto, 2004.
Cockburn, Daniel. Steve Reinke's Anthology of American Folk Song. Online review, 2004.
Davies, Jon. Humiliation: Queering a culture in crisis. Xtra!, Sept. 30, 2004
Balzer, David. Eye Candy: Steve Reinke. Eye Magazine, Sept. 2, 2004
Duke, Emily Vey. Emily Vey Duke's Top 10, Coterie, Chicago, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2004.
Willemsen, Paul. Monologues of Disembodiment: Figures of Discourse in Steve Reinke's Video Work. Stuff It: The Video Essay in the Digital Age, ed. Ursula Biemann, Springer, 2003
Gibson, Ross. How Photographs are Stored in the Brain. Remembrance + the Moving Image, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, 2003
Harris, Kyle. Through the Pleasure Dome: On Lux: A Decade of Artists' Film and Video. Film and Philosophy, Volume 7, No. 48, 2003
Mark, Lisa Gabrielle. The Peripheries of Stuff: Steve Reinke's Afternoon. Argos Festival, 2002
Mark, Lisa Gabrielle. De dingen en hun periferie: Steve Reinke's Afternoon. Argos Festival, 2002
Cockburn, Daniel. Why I Hate Steve Reinke. Catalogue essay for Why I Like Ugly Boys: Recent Videos by Steve Reinke, Pleasure Dome, 2002
Davies, Nicolas. Jolie laid: The beautiful ugly world of Steve Reinke. Xtra!, Dec 12, 2002
Hodder, Ian. Sex-ploration: Nervy shorts push sexual and gender boundaries. Gay City News, Vol 1, Issue 25, Nov 15-21, 2002
Marks, Laura U. Ten Years of Dreams About Art, Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media, Minnesota, 2001
Gingras, Nicole. Body, Voice, Narrative. Magnetic North, ed. Jenny Lion, Minnesota, 2001
Toppings, Michael. Steve Reinke: The Hundred Points. Writing for Electronic Media, Saskatoon, 2001
Sarkin, Hank. Picking up the pieces: Spiritual Animal Kingdom, Chicago Free Press, Chicago, Jan. 11. 2001
Bailey, Cameron. Reinke's final cut, Now Magazine
Marks, Laura U. Video's Body: Analog and Digital, Nach dem Film, 2000
Various authors. SR, Threadwaxing Space, New York, 2000
Metcalfe, Robin. The Black Box: The Videos of Steve Reinke, Parachute, no. 100, 2000
Butt, Gavin & Jon Cairns, Steve Reinke's Archival Imaginary, Critical Quarterly, Vol. 2, #3, 2000
Jones, Jonathan. Mind Over Matter: Steve Reinke, The Guardian, February 17, 2000
Grayson, Richard. Desperately Seeking Stephen. Peer, 2000
Gaines, Jane M. Lonely Boy and the Verite of Sex, Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Vol 8, No 1
Arning, Bill. Artist of the Month, Honcho, December 1999
Wagner, Frank. Fluchtige Portraits, Neue Gesellschaft fur Bildende Kunst/REALISMUSSTUDIO, 1999
Marks, Laura U. Loving a Disappearing Image, Cinemas, Vol. 8, Nos. 1-2, 1998
Duke, Emily Vey. Some Babies are Just Born Sad, Catalogue essay, Anna Leonowens, Halifax, 1998
Kibbins, Gary. Flaming Creatures: New Tendencies in Canadian Video, Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, 1997
Zelinski, Ger. Steve Reinke at Power Plant, Parachute, #88, Fall, 1997
Askevold, David. Steve Reinke: How I Became Subtle, Brochure text for exhibition, Halifax, 1997
Mark, Lisa Gabrielle. Steve Reinke, Poliester, Vol.6, #19, Summer 1997
Jordan, Betty Ann. Reinke's talent shines in video show, Globe and Mail, Thursday February 20, 1997
Monk. Philip. Talk Shows and Case Studies, (Exhibition catalogue), The Power Plant, 1997
Fargier, Jean-Paul. Art video affrontent l'ordre mediatique mondial, Le Monde, Dimanche 1er Decembre 1996
Kibbins, Gary. Tapes That Think, Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, 1996
Patten, James. Mighty Morphing Identities, London Life Young Contemporaries 96, LRAHM, 1996
Salzman, Gregory. An Alienated Embrace, C Magazine, #48, Winter 1996
Taubin, Amy. The Boy Boy Girlie Girlie Show, The Village Voice, January 23, 1996
McKay, Sally. Beauty #2 at the Power Plant, Flash Art, December 1995
Goddard, Peter. Outside dream factory are gems to savor in charming quirkiness, Toronto Star, Dec 29/95
Monk, Philip.  Beauty #2, (Exhibition Catalogue), The Power Plant, 1995
Hume, Christopher. Ten emerging artists mount landmark show at Power Plant, The Toronto Star
Marks, Laura U. Review of Steve Reinke at YYZ, Artforum, May 1995
Folland, Tom. My So-Called Life, Review of Steve Reinke at YYZ, Fuse, Vol. 18, No. 4, Summer 1995
Goddard, Peter. Videographer Reinke launches 64 new shorts, The Toronto Star, February 9. 1995
Bailey, Cameron. Reinke's mastery grows, Now Magazine, February 9, 1995  
Gay, Michelle. The Autobiographical Imperative, Mercer Union, 1994
Sergejewski, Sasha. Steve Reinke (MFA '93) at Oboro, NSCAD Alumni, 1994
Bailey, Cameron. Reinke Rises, NOW Magazine, January 27, 1994
Demchuk, David. Beguiling images blurred: Steve Reinke takes the tedium out of art video, Xtra!, Jan 21, 94
Bailey, Cameron. Best of 1993 Film, NOW Magazine, December 31, 1993
Bailey, Cameron. Gay fest juggling community interests, NOW Magazine, May 6, 1993
Bailey, Cameron. Signs of a Generational Shift: Best of 1992 Film, NOW Magazine, December 31, 1992
Eamon, Christopher. Steve Reinke explores sex, epic films and video, Xtra!, July 26, 1992
Cowan, Noah. A mix of seldom seen and spanking new, Eye, 1992
Bailey, Cameron. Reinke work conceptually swift and sophisticated, NOW Magazine, July 2, 1992
Sonbert, Warren. Odd Shorts for Queer Boys: Dynamite Program, San Fransisco Bay Reporter, June 1992

Occasional Videos
Jesus Sneaker Freak Pride Toronto, funded through Canada Council, curated by Sharon Switzer. Not shown because of copyright issues. 3 1/2 min., 2008
Jesus Sneaker Freak Silent version for TTC subway monitors. 1 min., 2008
Against Education To accompany presentation by Jennifer Montgomery. 1 min., 2007
One Night at Andre's Made for a a bronson's sex program at Oberhausen, 1 min., 2007
Punch & Judy Parthenogenesis Sketch, potentially embarrassing. 8 min., 2006
Ripples Sketch. 7 min., 2008
The Blind Necrophile Collaboration with J.-P. Kelly and Anne Walk. 5 min., 2008

Blogger's reaction to Anthology of American Folk Song at Monkey Town
Kind mention in Butt magazine #19
100 most frequently occuring words in Everbody Loves Nothing: Video 1997 — 2005
Invitation, Collected Portable Works: Videos, Books & Drawings, Argos and Etablissement d'En Face, Brussels, 1998
Exhibition documentation, Roebling Hall, Williamsburg, 1998
Handwritten texts, Larchmont Hotel stationery, c. 1998
Invitation, Big Dick Time, YYZ, 1997
Promotional card, VHS edition of The Hundred Videos, Art Metropole, 1997
Invitation, 18/100: Steve Reinke's The Hundred Videos, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1994/95
Invitation, The Hundred Videos (One to Sixty-Four), YYZ, 1994
Oboro pamphlet, Montreal, 1992/93
Expect Death, Stray image, circa 90

Steve Reinke

Steve Reinke’s show ‘Hobbit Love Is the Greatest Love’ was something of an anthology of the Canadian video-maker’s career: two hard drives and two monitors gave viewers access to his recent material as well as to ‘The Hundred Videos’ (1989–96), his own anthology of his work as a young man. The inventory is key to Reinke’s practice, in which semi-confessional videos assemble musings on critical theory and pop songs, desires and fantasies, historical events and pornography, offering him endless permutations of ways to make ironic but pointed juxtapositions. Andy (1997), for example, contrasts a man listing his dull decorating choices in minute detail (colour scheme: cream, ivory and off-white) while appearing in different choices of underwear, rubbing his cock for the camera as though proffering a series of pornography options. Reinke pounces on the moment when the presence of two items in a list creates a levelling of unlikely objects. In his Anal Masturbation and Object Loss (2002) he is shown gluing together the pages of the texts ‘Oral Autoerotic, Aggressive Behaviour and Oral Fixation’ and ‘Anal Masturbation and Object Loss’ (an act that gained unexpected resonance after reading in the last issue of frieze (issue 120) about the censoring of a homo-erotic text by Cerith Wyn Evans, by gluing its pages together after the catalogue was printed). In the video Reinke explains that he is preparing a library for his new art school, in which discourse will be limited to three subjects: classical rhetoric, theosophy and Martin Heidegger – and Heidegger ‘not as a philosophic system but as a series of provocative compound words’. Following on from this move from philosophy to words, the commentary then considers the relation between meaning and physical space occupied – for example, by glued-together books or the projection of a video in a gallery – while also lampooning Heideggerian etymological riffs and the desire for a precision of meaning (‘I would like anal masturbation to refer only to anal masturbation’) so drastic that ideas turn from sculptures to objects to placeholders (‘Object Loss’). The film is a tour de force.
In the gallery – the temporary exhibition site of LUX, a distribution agency for artists’ moving image works – Reinke arranged photographs of American servicemen who died in Iraq in order of their looks (The American Military Casualties of the Second Gulf War for Whom Photographs Were Available as of November 6, 2006, Arranged by Attractiveness, 2006), again provocatively inverting conventional organizing principles but also pushing to an extreme his persona as gay aesthete, interested only in ‘flowers and boys’, as he puts it in one film, or even as gay pervert, delivering immodest confessions and fantasies in his friendly, almost hokey, Canadian accent. Such an alter ego – or just ego in extremis – is one of the most interesting aspects of Reinke’s practice, suggesting not only a sustained project of construction of the self (similar to his penchant for turning individual videos into larger projects – such as ‘The Hundred Videos’ or his current series ‘Final Thoughts’, which will continue, he says, until he dies) but also his investigation of the way in which art theory, the diaristic form of avant-garde cinema and home use of videos has developed a rhetoric of conflating the technological apparatus of the video with one’s own ordering and remembering capacity: mind as machine, memory as pop songs and Super-8 reels, happiness as photographed flowers. By trespassing and acting within these genres Reinke’s videos push to the limit the capacity of the videotape to function as a means of ‘making sense’ of material, whether this material is a library, a philosophical system, sexuality or the self. - Melissa Gronlund

Sad Disco Master: Reinke Talks with Mike Hoolboom

From 1990-1997 you worked on The Hundred Videos, a lo-fi epic that calmed your superego interdiction to "complete one hundred videos before the year 2000 and my 36th birthday. These will constitute my work as a young artist." You immediately cleared the table for new work, beginning with Andy. What's the relationship between the two?
I finished The Hundred Videos in 1996 — I'd been working on them since 1990, and had originally thought it would take me until 2000 to finish them. Ten a year for ten years and then I'd have a body of work as a young artist and be ready to move on to more mature work. In a way, the series was about moving on, not getting stuck on a single idea, allowing for a proliferation of things: images, proposals, desires without getting bogged down (or tied up) with a single project. I wanted to be fast and cheap and follow whatever caught my attention. As an artist I've always proceeded by telling myself two lies: one is that the images already exist independently of my authorship (I'll say more about that later) and the other is that I'll make something really good in the future and the work I'm doing presently — whatever it might be — is like a dry run, or preparation for the real work, which is endlessly postponed. The Hundred Videos was great for me in this respect: a series of short works which present themselves as sketches, proposals or little wishes.
But I had a couple interests which couldn't be accommodated within the series, mostly because it seemed to me that each of the components should be very short. The average length is under three minutes, the longest, a re-edit of a documentary I shot in 1984, something like ten. So while many of The Hundred Videos were concerned with ideas of documentary representation, the short running times didnÕt really allow me to engage directly with documentary production.
The other avenue The Hundred Videos didn't allow me to explore in-depth was work based on following through a pre-determined set of instructions, kind of like structuralist film, but more directly from the compositional methods of John Cage and the early process pieces of Steve Reich. Doing work like this is sort of like a hobby for me: I like to make a set of procedures — a heuristic — and begin the process of carrying it out, usually as a transformation or re-mapping of a particular film or piece of writing, but often do not finish the projects, and usually do not release the ones I do manage to finish. Here is one I worked on a few years ago, and have the yen to complete: I began reading Joyce's Finnegans Wake into my computer. A voice recognition program transcribes the text. Because most of the book is not really in English — it's made of neologisms from a wide variety of languages — the computer transcription bears little resemblance to the novel. In it's own way, though, it is a more rational, readable text as it is now limited to a basic English vocabulary. I managed to read about the first third of it into the computer. It was very enjoyable — lots of fun to read out loud. As well, it is doubtful I would ever read the thing on my own; it almost the requires the commitment of another project — reading Finnegans Wake is not necessarily its own reward, one benefits from having an ulterior motive. It is perhaps the ultimate modernist writerly text: to read it is to recompose it, to write it over again. In a way, this project literalizes Barthes' distinction between the readerly and writerly. At first I got the computer to read back my transcription, but the monotony of the voice became tedious after a few minutes and seemed unlistenable and anyway, the voices that come with Macs are overused. So instead I read (and recorded) the transcription. It sounds very good, like an endless obscure bed-time story. So far it takes close to three hours (I recite it fairly quickly), but if I finish it, I expect it will be upwards of ten. Still, with a lot of compression it should fit on two MP3 CDs, or on an iPod and be at least as good as any John Grisham book on tape. I would also publish my transcription, giving it the title my voice recognition program gave it, Finnegan's Wake.  Coincidentally, a few weeks ago I was at a Michael Snow exhibition at Jack Shainman's in Chelsea and the press release misspelled Finnegans Wake as Finnegan's Wake. I wished my book were finished, as the press release would not have contained a typo, but a reference to my book.
Of course, it wasn't only length that had hampered my engagement with documentary production, but also a general inability, or even refusal, to engage with people as documentary subjects. In other words, although I am very interested and continually tempted by the observational documentary, I seem to be unable to actually do one, at least with people — I think I would have no problem with plants or animals. Andy is a compromise — a documentary, I suppose, but a simple one, conceptually simple and completely pre-planned. The subject, Andy, offered himself up. He'd heard my work contained pornographic images and wanted to be videotaped masturbating. (He had already starred in a few amateur porn productions.) My previous sexually explicit images had all been appropriated. I'd never shot sex, but was certainly willing, and even eager. At the same time, I thought that shooting a solo scene might be fun, but not interesting enough to be a tape. Both Andy and I were interested in making a tape for the public, not just a private sex thing. The two things Andy was most proud of, and most fond of showing off, were his penis — large — and his apartment — well-decorated. I thought it would be good if the video showed him masturbating in his living room while, in voice-over, he discussed his decorating choices as if he were giving an in-depth tour of his apartment. It seemed to me that these two modes of self-presentation — home decorating and sexual exhibition — perfectly encapsulated a particular contemporary urban gay male way of being. I think of Andy as a kind of ethnographic portrait: Andy not only as an individual, but as a type, an exemplar. I was embarrassed to ask him to talk about his apartment — after all the home decorating parodies the jerking off and the jerking off spoofs the home decorating: the two modes of exhibition are supposed to be incompatible, one private and the other public. So in a way it makes fun of Andy's exhibitionism and his decorating proclivities equally. But he got it right away, and thought it was very funny. It takes a real fag to be Martha Stewart and Al Parker at the same time. Here in the book, by the way, we've abridged the transcription of his voice-over.
Everybody Loves Nothing (Empathic Exercises) continues your recycling of pictures, familiar from The Hundred Videos, but now drawing from the Prelinger Archives. Mostly you've run tv moments (Oprah Winfrey) or moments from widely available docs (Lonely Boy), why this search through musty archives?
I'm more of a browser than a researcher. In terms of any particular discipline I am a dilettante rather than an expert. I have some research skills, and have been employed occasionally as a researcher, but generally prefer a less structured relationship with the archive. The trouble with archives is that they are well-organized and strive for comprehensiveness: you will find whatever it is you are looking for. That's okay if you know what you're looking for, but I'm more interested in finding things I had no idea I was looking for (a category which includes things I had no idea existed as well as things I was not consciously thinking of). Never let a librarian or archivist know you're just browsing — that is not what they are there for. One must always enter with an appropriate set of concerns and browse on the sly.
Back when I was a youth I used to think that the destruction of an archive, museum or library was a horrible thing. (As a child reading about the Seven Wonders of the World I was traumatized by the burning of the library of Alexandria.) Now I'm not sure I care. All those grand collections seem overwhelmingly oppressive. We should just get rid of them and start over.
Rick Prelinger (of the Prelinger Archive of ephemeral films) has nothing against browsing. Still, I entered his archive looking for films documenting brain surgery prior to my birth. He has a number of them, and they were exactly as I had imagined from the descriptions I'd been reading, except better. For some reason, I've never used them. It ended up that for reasons of expediency (I forget what exactly) I culled all the material I used from a few hundred 3/4 inch video transfers he had in the main office. I'm not sure if I had the central idea for Everybody Loves Nothing at that point. I think I just took whatever caught my eye, dubbing the clips to another 3/4" tape. A lot of the stuff was from the Levy family's 16mm home movies. They're famous bakers in New York — I think their motto was/is something like "You don't have to be Jewish to like it" — and took yearly vacations to faraway places which they documented far more proficiently than most amateur vacation films.
Everybody Loves Nothing (Empathic Exercises) is the video of mine I like the least. I've been tempted to pull it from distribution, but its been one of the most successful, being purchased for broadcast (which rarely happens with my work, partly because sexually explicit imagery and/or issues of copyright) and winning the Telefilm Canada Award at the Images Festival. I think I dislike it because I stoop to cheap, seductive tricks so often in it, most particularly slowing down footage until a clip ends with a freeze-frame as the subject looks directly at the camera.
Echo Valley is an episodic series of portraits. I appear in one of them sucking a candy-cane. I remember the shooting was brief and casual, you assured me at the time that you would make up in words what might be missing with pictures. Can pictures be re-captioned to mean anything at all? Would you also ask, like Walter Ong, that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then why does it have to be a saying?
It's interesting that your question isn't if pictures can be captioned to mean anything but re-captioned. It supposes that images come pre-captioned, which I think is true: every image comes to us, or can have meaning to us as an image, only if it is already caught in webs of discourse, in language. Pictures mean nothing without words. In fact, they are not even pictures.
I don't think anything is missing in the images of Echo Valley. They are as complete as any image; they're not asking us any questions. Certainly I'm adding something, but it isn't something necessary. What I'm adding isn't only not necessary, it's superfluous, occasionally ridiculously so. The little written monologues are a parallel stream of information that can be attributed to the people pictured (as their thoughts or speech), but they can just easily be attributed to the artist as implied narrator. I hope it is also unclear which chunk of text might go with which character, that is if the character precedes the text (text captions image) or if the text comes before and, in a way, introduces the character (image captions text).
From Marcel Duchamps's Anemic Cinema to Richard Serra's Television Delivers People (and many more besides) there is a future-past of motion pictures comprised exclusively of text. Could you talk about how Incidents of Travel fits into these heritage moments?
Moving pictures without pictures always seems sophisticated to me. What is the thing that would be said about the Duchamp and the Serra? Although very different pieces, they would both be termed conceptual, a word I hate more and more. But text-based work tends to get categorized as conceptual, as does any work which bares any resemblance to minimalism. Incidents of Travel could be called Anemic Video. It is a sluggish piece, low blood flow. The soundtrack is the most annoying pop song, Popcorn by Hot Butter, a moog synthesizer piece from my childhood slowed down many times, but with the original pitch maintained. The text, which fades up from white, is from the two-volume travelogue of a Victorian adventurer, John L. Stephens' Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan. (Robert Smithson has also worked from the books.) As was the style of the time, the Table of Contents contained descriptions of the contents of each chapter. I included only the descriptions that do not contain proper nouns (names of specific people or places) or strong actions/events. What we are left with is a string of short descriptions of nothing in particular, evocative of an episodic narrative but not in themselves constituting a narrative. It is my hope that the video leads viewers to imagining a context for the descriptions: it is meant to be evocative, to open a space for certain antique imaginings, lost wonderments reglimpsed.
How Photographs are Stored in the Brain seems like a departure for you. There is no voice-over and the tone fells nostalgic, even romantic.
Nostalgia is a strange thing. It comes up all the time when people talk about art. History has disappeared and left us with only nostalgia. So we're left ignorant, but filled with intense, if vague, emotion. We want to return to a time and place, a home, we never experienced but can almost remember. A few years after making How Photographs are Stored in the Brain I curated an exhibition for Argos Gallery in Brussels called Attack (Retreat). The premise was that popular culture's most powerful force for interpellating us is nostalgia. One would have to be heartless, inhuman even, to escape its heart-tugging force. It cannot be attacked directly, for every attack is rendered as hollow cynicism. But where attack is not possible one might be able to engineer a strategic retreat.
I said before that an archive is a horrible thing. That's true, but a collection, especially if it fits into a box that is easy to carry away, is a fine thing. A friend of mine found a box outside a recently sold house in Toronto. The box contained twenty-or-so old 78s, a photo album and a bunch of personal correspondence. The photos and music were used for How Photographs are Stored in the Brain, while the correspondence and a few of the photos were used in my only interactive cd-rom Mr. Green.
I have seen Fireball many times now, and while it hovers always at the border of coherence, it never arrives, it never makes any sense to me at all. Steve, help me out with this one, what does the title refer to? What are these strange goings on? Who are these artists and why should we care?
As with Echo Valley, I wanted monologue without character, monologue not rooted in a particular voice or character, which could be spoken by someone and seem perfectly, profoundly attributable to that person and then be spoken again by someone else and still be perfectly, profoundly attributable to them. A floating monologic perspective which could be multiply-voiced, pertain to anyone. In one of The Hundred Videos, "Jason," I interviewed a guy with lots of tattoos. I meant to do a portrait, a documentary portrait, but what he said did not satisfy me. I wanted the boy with the tattoos to say things as interesting as he looked. (One could say I wanted him to voice my projected desire back to me; I wanted him to live up to his image. After all, isnÕt a tattoo an advertisement for something? Or at the least an exteriorization of something?) So I wrote for him what I wanted him to say, and he said it. Suddenly it was clear to me why it would be interesting to work with people in front of the camera, or even to make little dramas. But so far, I've stuck to the monologue. One could say that one of my main concerns at this time was to find ways to make the monologue, to use Bakhtin's terms, dialogic rather than monologic.
Fireball came out of a project I made for a group show of public, interventionist work sponsored by Mercer Union in Toronto. I printed a dozen or so monologues on little cards, took to the street and asked people to recite the monologues for me. The results were not so good — it's difficult to get a good recitation on the street, everyone was flat and stumbling and in the end there was nothing of that footage I used. But I took the monologues with me to Berlin, where I was staying for a few weeks to participate in the Frank Wagner exhibition Fleeting Portraits.  I gave a talk at the Hochschule where I recruited people (mostly students) to participate in the video. I spent an hour or so with them where they lived, taping them in their homes, and then either wrote a monologue for them or gave them one of the existing monologues to recite. The monologues which I wrote about them were to seem to be about them specifically, but also be endlessly transferable: that is, anyone should be able to recite them and they would seem just as particular.
I'm very fond of Fireball, though I may not have many reasons to be. It was crudely edited on Premiere in a few hours (a program I have never used before or since) with star wipes between each scene. I think perhaps I am overly pleased that the thing I wanted my monologues to do — be both particular but, not exactly universal, but transferable — actually works, in a way that still thrills me. I know it can seem like a lame travelogue, or even worse, an obliquely political tape about life in post-wall Berlin, but for me it is about throwing my voice, a very particularly mediated kind of self-portrait as a documentary of others.
Spiritual Animal Kingdom raised the bar for your work, showing new commitment to old-fashioned cinema values (framing, montage, complex sound work) along with a shiny pop gloss. Its train of episodic fragments has become a model for some of your subsequent work.
My work since The Hundred Videos, however much I like them as individual works, seemed to me a wonky, idiosyncratic collection of shorts. I wanted something more substantial, work with the presence and authority that would be able to seduce an audience into sustained, thoughtful engagement. The Hundred Videos was, in this respect, an ideal structure for me: individual components could be slight, while the overall project was grand. Spiritual Animal Kingdom is something like that: a container for an arrangement of individual, modular components. Not to say that the components don't "go together" — it is important that they work together to form a whole which is coherent (thematically and otherwise) — but some modules could be removed, others added, their order shifted about, etc. In other words, the structure isn't tight or closed like works based on pattern or epic myth, or some other kind of solid structure.
It was made for the Montreal Bienniale. In large group shows, people spend very little time with individual works. My work is usually shown in a theatrical setting, which is good is many ways. It ensures that audience members will most likely see the entire piece from beginning to end, from a single comfortable seat with minimal distractions. In galleries and museums, people walk in and out very quickly. They must determine if they want to spend time with a time-based work, and if they do if there is a place to sit, etc. (It is no wonder that video in museums and galleries tends to be simple and bombastic: a single overwhelming image (or bunch of images to a single piece of music) all presence and affect, with no discursive development possible: no arguments, no stories, no descriptions, even — just a single performative gesture, a painting or photograph that changes over time, or a music video.) So Spiritual Animal Kingdom is a work one can enter at any moment. I tried to seduce the audience into staying until they've seen the whole thing by making the modules short, snappy, colourful, humourous and full of familiar hits from the 70s.
Afternoon (March 21, 1999) is set inside your apartment, a little duet of camera and maker, playfully turning the space through your lens. At one point you open your shirt to reveal your chest and say, "Oh, I've got more in common with Vito Acconci than I thought." Vito seems father to your musings, and I wonder if you could speak of the importance of these ancestors, tradition and the individual talent, to your considerations.
Although Vito Acconci is central to my work, I'm not sure how much this particular video was influenced by him. With the in-camera editing, seemingly straightforward record of someone making their way through the world (even if the world in this case is reduced to a tiny studio apartment) and comic persona, it owes more to the work of George Kuchar. Still, the reference to Acconci works in a of couple ways. In the video I toy with the audience about showing myself. My body (or somebody's body) is central to the work — the camera is very clearly an extension of the narrator/artist/protagonist's body — and I show fragments of myself, but only fragments and never my face. For the Acconci joke I am lying on the couch, unbutton my shirt to expose a hairy chest and claim that my similarity with Acconci may be as much physical as anything else. It asserts that the piece means to be read within the historical context of video art. It divides the audience clearly (as humour often and citations always do): those with a first-hand knowledge of Acconci's work laugh, and others do not. It first screened to an audience of film people who did not have the capacity to understand it (although it is really very simple and not inherently challenging) — many of them took it as some kind of provocation (as often happens when an audience is faced with something outside the realm of their possible expectations). For an art or video crowd, it is easy to make sense of — they might still think it is as boring as hell, but will not find it strange or feel like I must be "pulling their leg."
It seems strange, in a way, that the work takes as its fathers Acconci and Kuchar. Surely it must be one of my most self-consciously video art videos. Ideally, I'd like to claim a much wider set of influences, from a much wider set of mediums and claim for video the ability to combine stuff from almost anywhere.Video art and experimental film once had completely separate histories, but now that film is dead (and mourned) and video is dead (its death has not been noticed) and we've gone digital, these separate histories seem quaint and totally irrelevant. New histories are being written, and a new canon is forming. Wavelength will be placed beside The Red Tapes and no one will think it strange. Last year the Whitechapel Gallery in London showed my Sad Disco Fantasia with Stan Brakhage's Dog Star Man. In a previous time such a pairing would have appeared merely idiosyncratic and silly.
When I was much younger and a prose poet, I wondered why my work was so much like the work of Michael Ondaatje, Christopher Dewdney, Margaret Atwood, Marie Claire Blais, etc. in terms of sensibility and style. I did not believe in national identity (at least not as a defining creative force) and would have preferred to be able to choose who my influences were. Why not write like Beckett, Joyce, Berryman, Genet, Faulkner, Emily Dickinson or Cormac McCarthy? There is very little one gets to choose in life and one may choose from whom one steals but one may not choose by whom one will be influenced. (Gertrude Stein.)
I don't feel the anxiety of influence, and although I have managed to kill my father I haven't fucked my mother, and don't imagine I ever will. Oedipus and the conflict is too familiar to function any more an interpretive possibility. Perhaps influences are merely inheritances: my hairy chest may come from my biological father (though literally from the combined genetic material of both parents, the psychological connection is to dad), but the significance of the image of the hairy chest in the video comes from Acconci.
I'm writing a book on early Canadian (okay, Toronto mostly) video, which seems to me constitute an amazing body of work, more distinctive and rigorous than has been acknowledged: Rodney Werden, Lisa Steele, Colin Campbell, Tom Sherman, etc. I do not think I mean to destroy them Oedipally, even subconsciously. If my sense of history and influence were teleological — which it isn't — I would be writing a history which leads only to me.
Sad Disco Fantasia begins with the death of your mother, like the famous novel of Camus which begins: "Mother died today." But unlike this affectless cri de couer of existentialism, your work features animal musings, brightly relooped pop music from the seventies and drenching animations, haunted always by death. Is Charlie Brown correct when he says, "Good grief." Is this another of the oxymorons the work explores?
Yes, I believe in the death drive, and will say no more on the subject. (Except that we're all going to die. And not everyone loves us.)
Anal Masturbation & Object Loss features a single shot (with edits) which shows a close-up of your hands gluing together pages of a book. In its performative, one-take non-stop chatter approach it recalls early vid art, as well as your vocation as a teacher. Can you comment? And why do you have to keep gluing pages from the female masturbation chapter together, repressing once more a feminine erotics?
Before I said that Afternoon (March 21, 1999) must be my most self-consciously video art video. I guess that makes Anal Masturbation & Object Loss my most self-consciously academic video art video. One can't even claim the work is a parody or critical examination of academic video art as those things are already built into the category.
Let's say the video has three components: the voice-over monologue, the action of gluing the book together, and the view of the book itself and the words on the page. While the narrator claims to be gluing all the chapters except the eponymous one together, we do mostly see him gluing together a chapter on female masturbation. Although the shot is too tight to read any entire page, we get a good view of chunks of the text. That particular chapter had the raciest case studies, and used a lot of coarse and provocative language. I wanted viewers to be compelled to read the book's text as well as listen to the voice-over. Of course, they can't read very much of the text: little chunks and then they're glued. The action is itself provocative: the glue is applied with a penis-like glue stick, the pages pressed together with a repetitive, gentle rubbing motion, then the book's slammed shut, pressed down and re-opened. One identifies immediately the irony of the narrator's voice over. For instance, you would never ask what I have against books and libraries — it is clear I'm having my narrator make outrageous claims in order to put forward other arguments and ideas, as in a modest proposal. The action of gluing the book is also split between a narrator and an implied author. It is not really me gluing the book. The action is just as ironic as the voice-over. There is no destruction of female sexuality in the video. On the contrary, female sexuality is fore-grounded. If the gluing together of the pages of a book can be seen to symbolically represent the repression of sexual thoughts and desires (and why not) it must be remembered that at the very least the gesture has a double movement: it first reveals that which it obliterates (as the narrator says, nothing is missing, all the words are still on the page, you just can't access them). Moreover, the gesture isn't only doubled, but also ironic. The narrator's actions cannot be straightforwardly attributed to the implied author.
In The Chocolate Factory you present a series of drawings which show the victims of Jeffrey Dahmer, along with snippets of Black Sabbath's "Fairies Wear Boots" and a slowed voice-over. The cruelly repetitive, serial nature of the work is so dull that I have to ask: don't you want to be loved? Don't you long for that moment, after the screening, when strangers will rush to embrace you? How could you make a work so difficult as this?
Do I want to be loved? Well, I am loved, well and sufficiently. I don't need any more. There is too much love in the world. I don't long for the moment after screenings when strangers rush to embrace me. I prefer screenings to occur in my absence. I do often enjoy a good q&a, but questions from an audience member gushing with love are as useless as questions from someone in an antagonistic rage.
Of course, The Chocolate Factory is not meant to bore people, although that is undoubtedly often its effect. It's meant to be as full of stuff and as exciting as anything else I've made. I don't think it's a difficult work so much as an unpleasant one. There is perhaps not much to give an audience immediate pleasure. But it is rich and pleasurable beneath its boring structuralist crust! And in the same comic/ironic mode as my other work. As a viewing experience, it is both empty and full. The range of images and sounds is small, and their use monotonous. Yet the voice-over can be quite dense, and changes rhetorical mode frequently. At some points there is too much to take in. I imagine the video, although slow and monotonous, is sometimes dense and overwhelming. I imagine that one cannot follow the whole thing, that oneÕs mind will drift in and out of paying attention to the voice-over. Although the work hasn't shown much, some people have said that the video works in the way I've imagined. Those who like it really like it. It may not yield its pleasures and complexities as directly as other stuff, but they are there and can be accessed. Although it is a text-heavy piece, I think it will work very differently in print form. The experience of watching some of my videos may send people to this book. I think with The Chocolate Factory, this book will send people to the video.
It is partly a sign of the times that unpleasant work (the code word is "difficult") seems useless and unbearable. Back in the 80s difficult work got at least a kind of grudging respect. Now it is met with anger: How dare you bore us! We must be amused.
J.-P. is a first person confessional which, unlike most diaries, exists in multiple versions. Can you talk about how you came to this footage, and why you treated it the way you did.
The full title is J.-P. (A remix of "Tuesday and I" by Jean-Paul Kelly). J.-P. was a student of mine. I liked his drawings and got him to illustrate the video The Blind Necrophile, which was based on an early psychoanalytic case history. The video turned out fine, but was unremarkable, so I didnÕt bother putting it in distribution. (I make too many videos and so have tried to only release the best, or most interesting.) He also illustrated The Chocolate Factory. J.-P. made Tuesday and I late one night in a despairing mood, depressed after a weekend of partying and ecstasy, a single 18 minute confession to the camera. His despair is compelling, but 18 minutes is too long. It isn't the 70s any more. So J.-P. has offered up his confession to any one who will re-mix it and make it shorter. I like J.-P. very much, but find the endless self-pitying of the confession tedious and annoying so I must confess my first impulse was to mock him, to deflate his gesture of overly dramatic self-aggrandizement. The material asks for either straightforward sympathetic engagement or for a rejection of empathy. J.-P. knows this, and offers up his confession, his performance, to be re-mixed in any manner. So initially I had dramatic music well up at certain points and cover up his words. This worked fairly well, but seemed reductively cruel. It editorialized too clearly about my take on the work. It reduced the complexity of the original rather than enhancing it, and so was an unsatisfactory solution. Instead I decided to keep his performance intact, but to speed up certain sections, initially only those sections in which he is not talking. As the video progresses, I also fast forward through some of his words, and the fast forwarding gets faster and faster. I was interested in using speed to squeeze sounds out of his body. There are the words he says, and there are the sped-up gestures and the squeaky sounds which I think of as being squeezed out of his body by the act of fast-forwarding, a parallel monologue.
You told me that every memory is accompanied by an equal amount of shame, eating breakfast, a humiliating sexual encounter, they're all part of the same sorry past. Why is that?
I am being misquoted/misremembered horribly, although you are almost right. It is not memories and shame (I remember nothing and feel shame very rarely) but things and embarrassment. Everything embarrasses me. There is something appalling about existence itself, or if not existence, consciousness. I don't worry about it too much. It is a trait I share with many previously shy people. It is like having a shyness or embarrassment switch: either it is all on or all off. Nothing is quite like a humiliating sexual encounter, but I can more honestly say the recollection of eating lunch today is just as embarrassing (and somehow as private) as my last sexual encounter (which may be considered sleazy, but was not humiliating).
My use of the confessional mode in the work may be connected to this — how could it not be — but I don't think my ex-shyness is the determining factor. Sure, I tease the audience with confession / autobiography which always becomes displaced into something else. My refusal of autobiography comes from somewhere else. Or, wherever it might have come from, it still seems a rich area of investigation. One is in the world as a body and a voice. Let's say there is no thought, no consciousness: just a body and a voice. Autobiography joins voice and body together through narrative. Confession interpellates us a social subjects. These basic ways of understanding ourselves in the world seem inescapable, but limiting. I want to move through them to something else.
In several of your works you announce that you are leaving, dying, or at least stopping production. This is it, you declare, and Final Thoughts shares these sentiments. Is it only possible to make these pictures when the end is near?
Well, the end is always near. The end is near and whatever we might make or do is shoddy and small and inadequate, though not necessarily worthless or irrelevant. So one keeps on working, especially as there seems nothing more pressing. So another project, grand and self-aggrandizing: Final Thoughts. Final Thoughts is a life-project: I will keep working on it until I die. It will not be complete until the moment of my death. It is an on-going collection of digital modules: image, text, sound that can be output in the form of video. Videos will be made from the modules of the Final Thoughts archive. The first of these is Anthology of American Folk Song.
At first I was just going to add modules to the series and release them every now and then in chronological order. I tried this with the video Final Thoughts, Part One, but wasn't happy with it as a discrete work: it didn't hold together. Of course, it wasn't meant to. It was just the collection of stuff I had assembled so far for the Final Thoughts archive in chronological order. Anthology of American Folk Song is assembled from parts of Final Thoughts. Of course, many of the components of Anthology were created expressly for that video and did not previously exist in the Final Thoughts archive. No matter; they are part of it now.
Final Thoughts doesn't refer only to death, but to the end or limit of things in general.

Hoolboom Interviews Reinke, Part Two

The Mendi is another found footage short in which you return to footage first used in a few of The Hundred Videos. Do you have an archive of material that you draw from in order to produce new work? Did you feel that the original material, a CBC ethnographic documentary about a Papua New Guinean tribe called the Mendi, wasn't exhausted by your first approach? Could you imagine continuing to rework this same footage, again and again, in all of the work you would make in the future? Will it never end?
I do still use material gathered many years ago. I don't have that much of it. I actually don't like having to deal with mounds of things. In the early nineties I worked at the University of Toronto, in the School/Education building as an audio/visual technician's assistant. Like many libraries, they were getting rid of their 16mm collection. I took a few dozen films, rented a flatbed for a few days and spliced together a few reels of material. Whatever caught my attention. I had no idea what I would use this stuff for. I just new I didn't want any excess: anything I took was something with a high probability of being put to use. I took these reels and got them transferred to betacam. The Mendi was the one film I kept relatively intact. Every scene was compelling, and I loved the strange commentary, which was definitely feminist, but still alarmingly condescending to the Mendi. Right now, I can just remember one line, "The Mendi have minds like computers." I think I have three half hour reels, now dubbed from betacamSP to miniDV, from those sessions, plus a few things from the Prelinger archive. I'll continue to draw from all of it, as long as it compels me. I would like to become someone else, or at least develop a larger sense of things, but as it seems I am doomed to remain exactly myself, I assume this material will compel me always. Of course, any particular piece of material could never be exhausted. The question is whether one's interest in working with the material could be exhausted, and I don't think it will happen. I haven't, for instance, dealt with the voice-over on the original film. Some people, by the way, get perturbed when they see material re-used, as if I'm cheating them. I'm happy working with a small bank of images/footage. I never yearn to have massive amounts of material. I would like more footage of brain surgery from the fifties, though.

The beginning of Ask the Insects offers a title warning viewers about the tricks of light to come, the illusions cast in the theatrical space. It reads: "Friends, avoid the darkened chamber where your light is being pinched." Could you talk about the origin of that text, and why it is followed by the album cover for Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon?
The quote is from Goethe. He's writing against Newton's theory of colour and light, in particular the prism experiments. For Goethe, the artificial situation of passing a beam of light through a prism in a darkened room could not produce valid results as it was so far removed from everyday perception/experience. Today, in the age of empiricism, we have no doubt Newton was correct and that Goethe's scientific theories are quackery. Yet there is also something modern about Goethe's stance, which seems akin to phenomenology in its preference for the experience of things as they appear complexly in the world rather than the abstractions of scientific experiments in which limited conditions are imposed. But, of course, I don't expect many people will recognize the Goethe quote, which is unattributed in the video. In the video, the quote seems to be speaking about the condition of being a spectator in a movie theatre. Still, the two light-pinching apparatuses — prism and cinema — don't seem so different. At any rate, it is always wise to begin with a warning, if only for issues of liability. The video is the first work that I've thought of as, if not actually being animation, then being about animation, in particular the relation between the animated/digital image and its possible referents in the immanent world.
The quote refers to a prism and a darkened chamber. The music during the segment is from the album. The title of the album refers to a place of darkness (if not a chamber) and the cover of the album depicts light being pinched through a prism. So when the image resolves into the highly recognizable album cover (for though all the visual material in the section is derived from the cover, it is not recognizable as such until the end) it refers to two separate things: where the music is coming from and what the quote is referring to. Usually audiences laugh when the image resolves, though there was no laughter when you showed it in Rotterdam.
As with many things in my recent work, it is merely a group of associations. It is not a set of linear connections that form an argument or narrative.
Ask the Insects is an episodic work, reminiscent in its shaping strategies to Spiritual Animal Kingdom, Sad Disco Fantasia and Anthology of American Folk Song. Can you talk about this work in relation to your Final Thoughts archive?
Originally I thought that I'd simply present components from the archive of Final Thoughts chronologically. I put out Final Thoughts: Part One with the plan that there would be a part two, etc. But the work was dissatisfying, as it sat half way between a chronological assembly of discrete fragments and a finished work. Because the fragments are, of course, not discrete but made in relation to one another, and in dialogue with one another. A structure that arranged them chronologically, without attention to the ways in which they relate, was untenable and I quickly withdrew the work.
When I made Spiritual Animal Kingdom I was thinking of the structure of a variety show on tv. There were recurring comedy bits, musical numbers, and bumpers. Everything related to everything else in one of three or four ways. Then I had a section — a giant book a neurologist produced about his wife after she died called something like "The Brain of a Pianist," slices of her brain carefully photographed. And this material didn't relate directly to anything else in the work, but I put it in any way and discovered it was fine: it belonged despite me not being able to pinpoint exactly why it belonged. Then I didn't worry about it any more. I realized I wasn't building an airtight machine, or even a machine with a particular reason to exist, a particular function.
Sad Disco Fantasia is even more loose: it is about living in Los Angeles as a kind of flaneur, the death of the mother, and the impossibility of home, but many of the sections have nothing to do with any of these. And although Anthology of American Folk Song is even looser, I think that on a deeper level it is completely tight, coherent.
One could say the first two videos are produced under certain thematics, which however loose, was still too constricting. Or, perhaps not constricting at all, since I did not stick to the themes, perhaps it just seemed more and more like a false claim. To the question what is this video about, where does all this material come from, how does it relate, I now can simply answer, they are all final thoughts and individual titles are assembled from materials collected in the archive called Final Thoughts. And that is all, for what is more final than finitude.

All of those videos are about the same length, about 26 minutes. Ask the Insects is much shorter, with fewer sections. It seems to me a series of introductions to the graveyard walk. Okay, not really a series of introductions at all. Still, the video seems to have two parts of about equal length: the walk, and everything leading up to it. Everything leading up to it is animation (though the narrator, of course, claims otherwise).
In the second episode of Ask the Insects, your voice over states, "The reader has proved inadequate: simple-minded, easily distracted, and mean and petty." From the death of the author you move to an inadequate reader, implying of course, that the readers of this movie will be inadequate. Do you feel that the work you have made up until now has prepared viewers for what's to come, raising the skills of viewership so that you can make increasingly difficult or complex work? Movies like this are difficult to draw together, it is so willfully fragmented, jumping from one place to another. What do your musings about burning books, a walk to the yards of grave and school, an abstracted display of processing, the forms of rain and insect life have to do with one another? What is the relation that joins these into a unity, a whole?
Yes, I still think the idea of an oeuvre is important. Even if the author is dead, other concepts have taken its place, like the signature effect, or a contract between the text and its implied reader/s. Individual works within an oeuvre teach us how to read other works. If we only had one Emily Dickinson poem, it would mean nothing. The poetry of Emily Dickinson only makes sense as part of a larger body of work. Genre can do this as well, of course, but one always wants to exceed genre.
And why not insult the audience? I had already warned them, after all. It is more than their light being pinched.
I hope I'm getting better at whatever I'm doing, but I hope this doesn't necessarily mean becoming more and more complex, like Joyce's path from The Dubliners to Ulysses to Finnegans Wake. That's kind of a modernist, teleological concept. But despite this, my work has become more complex, and I do hope viewers are drawn along. If you know my previous work, for instance, Anthology of American Folk Song, will probably not seem incomprehensibly strange. The other route, the poet's route, is, rather than increasing complexity, increasing simplicity and succinctness, stripping down to the essentials. The two paths are not incommensurable: individual components are often getting simpler and simpler, while the way they function in relation to the others in increasingly complex.

What is the relation that draws the individual components of Ask the Insects into a whole? Well, as I said, it isn't a single theme. Nor is it a particular story or argument. I don't think of the components as fragments, really. They have their own kind of completeness; they do their business and we move to something else. There is no intercutting between components; intercutting would require fragmentation. A question posed in one component will not be answered in another (although it is not uncommon that the same question will be posed again, in a different manner). It is also important to note that the fragments (their arrangement) is not random or arbitrary. Not arbitrary at all. Its just that the mechanism, the logic if you like, behind the arrangement — the rationale — is not one of story, argument or theme.
Does Ask the Insects even hold together as a single, discrete work? I think it does. I think there is a certain force and persuasion to the thing. A flow of affects, images, ideas. Things laid side by side that remain, in some way, what they are, are not subjugated into a mere piece of an argument or story or list of illustrations for a particular theme. (Although, in a limited way, Ask the Insects is a list of illustrations for some possible relations of digital animation and indexical, lens-based representation. But that doesn't really adequately describe what the video is about or what it does.)

Could you write about the closing sequence of Ask the Insects, did you take this camera walk knowing you would deploy it as the denouement of this movie?
The last section is derived from footage I took a few summers ago. I walked the same path I used to walk to school, from Kindergarten to grade 8. The school is at the top of a hill, on the right hand side. A graveyard is on the left hand side. When I went to school, there were no sidewalks on the long residential street leading to the school, but then the village is small and almost everyone is bussed in, often from quite far away. Today, there is a sidewalk on one side. When I get to the top of the hill, I pan between the school- and grave-yards. My father is buried there, and many relatives/ancestors, though of course, being an outpost in the new world, the European generations don't go back very far. I wanted to make the assertion that every grave bore my name. I didn't actually remember where my father was buried. If people die in the winter, they are not buried until the ground thaws (this is still the case today) but I think he died in early spring. At any rate, I hadn't been to his grave since the burial and thought it was away from the road, closer to the river. But when I got to the top of the hill, the grave was right there, along with other Reinke stones, so it does kind of look like all the graves bear (bare?) my name.
I liked this footage very much. Apart from anything else, it looked good. I shot it with my new three chip camera and wide angle lens. As the walk proceeds, the sky becomes beautifully overcast and a few drops of rain begin to fall. But how to actually use it in a work, I had no idea. It did identify a certain limit to my work: my strict avoidance of the autobiographical even as the possibility of the autobiographical — sometimes even as a kind of audience tease — is never very far away. Here was material that was interesting only with the biographical connection apparent. How it is used in Ask the Insects does not seem to me the end of the story, so the same incident will also be part of a video that I thought I'd finished but needs revisiting Regarding the Pain of Susan Sontag (Notes on Camp).
The entire walk was too long for the video, maybe twenty minutes. At first I just sped it up, wanting to keep it a single take. Then I doubled the image and superimposed them, adding various filters to the two layers. In addition to extensive colour correction, most notably something called Image or Motion Stabilization in FinalCutPro, which of course makes the image less stable and more jittery. Each layer has a different rate of jitter/stabilization. Other filters, too. The image is much more processed than the earlier episode in the video, in which the narrator talks about adding a filter to a film clip that abstracts the image. Then I did end up cutting the shot, hacking it apart rather abruptly. When I get to the top of the hill, I say, panning from right to left a few times (added, of course, in post) something like "Now that we get to the end of the road, the top of the hill, it is time to make a few introductions: schoolyard, graveyard; schoolyard, graveyard; school, grave."
I did not know it would be the end of Ask the Insects. I did not know what could be done with such a thing. Certainly much of the other stuff in the video leads up to it, in various, often obscure ways. The shot of the buck in snow is from Bambi. It is Bambi's father telling him wordlessly that his mother is dead. The monologue about abstracting an unidentified representational image through processing gives another possibility for the processing of the walk footage: it could so easily be repressed through the application of a single filter. The third last section refers to walking/journeying: "Every day a bit further, until the horizon is breached." The second last section (before the walk) ends with a non-sequitor resolved in the last section, "Like a graveyard where every stone bears your name." Other sections warn or insult the viewer, speak about the weight of paternal/ancestral knowledge (book burning). Still, all these connections do not add up to a complete exploration of a single theme! The fact that many sections feature precipitation is of no less relevance.

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