Living Cut-Ups

Sexuality could be said to course through the veins of Marie Losier's films, but it's often thrillingly murky and atmospheric rather than goal-oriented. Losier perhaps finds her ideal subject in Psychic TV frontman/performance artist/professional boundary demolisher Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the subject of her first feature-length documentary, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. The film follows P-Orridge's transformative late career and second marriage -- including his surgically aided evolution from straight male father of two into a "pandrogynous being" who adopted the physical characteristics of wife Lady Jaye. A pioneer of industrial music in deep creative debt to William S. Burroughs' philosophy of the "cut-up," P-Orridge's deep bond with Jaye -- a performance artist in her own right, who he married in 1993 and lived and collaborated with until her untimely death in 2007 -- became the subject of his most elaborate, and literal, homage to the art of radical collage. In addition to encapsulating the second half of P-Orridge's 40-year-plus musical career, Ballad documents the surgical procedures that husband and wife underwent in attempt to become carbon copies of one another, up to and including identical breast implants. "You fall in love with someone, and there's this moment where you just want to consume each other, and not be individuals anymore," P-Orridge says. P-Orridge's life thus becomes an artistic exploration of innate beauty versus artificial, and the performative processes that connect the two. Losier splices intimate verite footage of Genesis' life with and without Jaye (they're first seen lazily roaming NYC together, husband looking like the bloated older sister of his wife) with dreamy, highly choreographed sequences set to Genesis' narration of his own life story. Just as the couple evolve into a living cut-up, the film follows suit. This feat of form following content is not unusual for Losier: The one true signature connecting her shorts may be her ability absorb the stylistic tropes of the work of her collaborators/subjects, and project back imagery that's a distinct marriage of their style and her own.
March 9-15, 2012

 
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