Saturday, April 9, 2016

Steve Reinke at Isabella Bortolozzi

Steve Reinke at Bortolozzi

Call it affectual torture, like its psychological cousin, it erodes the ego-defense of its victims through learned helplessness, psychological regression and depersonalization. Reinke's videos are a methodical stress-testing of our emotional capacities through tonal short-circuiting. It's funner than it sounds submitting to psychological bondage. Reinke films' slow pacing and calming paternal voice leads through footage and images with jarring music, unexplained scenes, and philosophical manhandling as a bad-trip Nature film fritzing our relationship to its input, creating a helplessness at the hands of the torturer who remains in control of the sensory input. Desensitization that makes one impressionable to suggestion, coercion and inculcation. It's an interesting metonym for the suggestive function in the affectual-coercion of wider culture, from our selection of olive oil in a grocery store down to our birth, the socialization and replication of a normative culture we find inside us daily that Reinke seems firm in his odds against. When Reinke, in "The Genital is superfluous," says of the drunk shirtless men wrestling wetly on formica flooring that they "want to go back to the placental state" it's been so pummeling getting there you submit to it, believe him.

See too: “Rum, sodomy, and the lash” at Eden EdenRachel Rose at High Art