10 colour DVD’s, recorded in loop
1 video installation, 25 TV flat screens, 7 synchronized DVD’s
Directed and edited by Carmen Arrabal
Paris, 2006

10 small-size flat screens (8 inches)
10 DVD players (or miniscreens with incorporated flash player)
20 audio helmets
25 LCD TV flat screens (15 to 17 inches)
7 professional DVD players (Pioneer DVD-V7300D or similar) to ensure video sync.

Download the presentation in pdf (french)

Simulation of the video installation

"JE est mille" (“I is a thousand")

In the post-modern age, free expression of feminine desire is still taboo. It is repressed not only by women but also by their family and social circles, for fear of being physically abused in a chauvinist world and socially condemned in the light of what is considered to be sexually correct. Desire and sex are far from being “animal instincts”; they are constructions of society and of the mind. Our fantasies are closely linked to our life experiences, to interdiction and to cultural impositions.

This set of videos originates from a real life experience of desire. I began filming myself and experiencing through my own body manifold representations of desire and of sexual fantasies. I used a digital camera to keep the experience on a domestic, non-professional level. The small-size format of the videos emphasizes the voyeuristic effect.

The videos have the duration of a song, like a music video. Sex and desire are the themes of all the songs.

They could be described as pornographic, because, like in x-rated films, the long-range shot is systematically followed by a close-up and vice-versa, without any symbolic formulation, as an obscene desecration of feminine anatomy. The fragmented body presents us with the actual action devoid of all rhetoric. Like in porn films, the script is obliterated by the physiological and hyperrealist repetition of limited variations in which desire and its representations are tirelessly renewed. The key difference however is that, contrarily to porn films, we are not in presence of a fiction with feigned urges, but of a video recording of real, genuine urges.

Watching myself from an audience’s point of view, I cannot help thinking about the political side of sexuality, and of women’s sexuality in particular.
I have the feeling that I do not know myself; watching one’s own sex and one’s urges is not an everyday event. My sex speaks for myself free of complexes and inhibitions. I sense a subversive power in the images and in the language that I use and that I would describe as masculine. Women usually masturbate less than men. A close-up plan of their own sex is often full of negative connotations, most probably because of the forbidden nature of individual pleasure and due to the proliferation of pornographic images they do not wish to identify with. Conventionally, they tend to talk of love, thus taming the basic and arousing language that ascends directly from their sex organs.

Sexuality is subordinated to the established order, and is therefore clearly described and codified. The feminine libido is defined by male fantasies, and women are still categorized according to two stereotypes: as beings devoid of sexuality (the Virgin, the mother...), or as sexually exuberant creatures (the lustful woman, the whore, the mistress…); the repression of sexual instincts facilitates submission to society, that has integrated sex by reducing it to an economic industry and to a matter of sex education expressed in cold medical terms.

When sex is expressed without bounds the “social Self” subsides in a world of urges that goes against traditional roles, mixing up male and female, active and passive, heterosexual and homosexual, public and private, the binomial that governs sexuality. The mental meshes of fantasies disintegrate and give way to a sublime sensation: “I is a thousand”.

Wall, detail

Central wall installation, detail

Close to me
Music : Close to me. The Cure
Fantasias de virginidad
(Fantasies of virginity)
Music : Pleasure Is all mine. Bjork – Medulla
In the kitchen
Music : Soul kitchen. The Doors
Sex is fun
Music : I wan’t your sex. George Michael
I’am a love technician
Music : Erotica. Madona
(Untie me)
Music : The Pleasure Song. Marianne Faithfull
Geisha dreams
Music : Only when I lose myself. Depeche Mode (Dan The Automator Mix)
Tus deseos, los mios
(Your desires, my desires)
Music : Strangers on a train. Lovage
YO es mil
(I is a thousand)
Music : Sex (I’m a). Lovage
Public enemy
Music : Me so horny. 2 Live Crew