Video

The Black Shiny Shoes Opera

Marlene Madison

1996, 07:00 minutes, colour, English

TAPECODE 642.01

Marlene Madison Plimley ventriloquieses the voice of "theory" as she plays the role of an academic giving an interpretation of The Black Shiny Shoes Opera . In this spoof of academic discourse, she magnifies the binary or bifurcated relation of the theory to the cultural product, appealing almost compulsively to the Opera which appears as short video clips. The discrepancies of interpretation and the enforced closure of meaning enacted by her theorizing upon the camp and absurd scenes of the Opera point to irreconcilable differences between the theoretical and the theatrical/musical. Academic objectivity is further undermined by the fact that the theoretician, albeit in a different costume, is one of the characters in The Black Shiny Shoes Opera. Furthermore, the Opera is a low tech video document of an opera which revolves around the private lives of the performers. The story line suggests that neither academic nor professional distance is possible.

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