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In a Different Light

Thursday, February 23, 1995
7:30 p.m. My Failure to Assimilate and Selected Works
Cecilia Dougherty (U.S., 1994)

World Premiere
Artist in Person

Cecilia Dougherty has struggled to inscribe a lesbian aesthetic within a medium that doesn't freely relinquish its male-dominated terrain, from her early endeavors to portray lesbian sex in a mundane, non-exploitative manner, such as Claudia (1987, 8 mins), to her more recent efforts to usurp male space by appropriating the garb of gay icons, most prominently as Joe Orton in Joe-Joe (1993, 52 mins). Her newest work, My Failure to Assimilate (20 mins), redirects this territorial imperative toward the consequences of participating in mainstream culture. According to Dougherty, the tape is "about the schizophrenic nature of an individual's relationship to language and social structures which categorically deny her existence. It's also about the high price of becoming visible on your own terms, and the acute lack of assurances that an outsider's position can ever be secure." Anti-assimilationist in posture, it isn't a retreat from the fight for representation; rather, it's a vivid glimpse of the battle scars.

—Steve Seid


The Drama of the Gifted Child (1992, 6 mins) and Sick (1986, 6 mins).

(Total running time: 92 mins, 3/4" video, From the artist)