Brooke is a Los Angeles based artist who produces photo and text narratives
for installation and publication, photographs, critical texts and works
in video art.
She is the co-editor of the web magazine Site Street and the Director
of the Program in Photography at CalArts in Los Angeles.
Multi Channel Video / 3 DVDs (color, sound),
approx. each 5'
Courtesy of the artist
v iew a sequence 1600 KB
The Boy Mechanic offers, like a contemporary version of the early twentieth
century "how-to" instructional book it takes its name from,
a map of this trace. Acting as our tour guide, the video reveals the topography
of the city to be a lesbian graveyard. The urban structures and sites
that used to, but today no longer, beckon and harbor lesbians architecture,
highways, hills, enclaves, parking lots litter and haunt the city
like the physical and ghostly remnants of the dead. Touring via car and
foot, The Boy Mechanic invites the viewer along to excavate these remnants.
One of the more striking ways that the video reveals the city to be a
lesbian ghost town is through its foregrounding of the facades of defunct
lesbian bars, focusing in particular on their entry-ways. Much of The
Boy Mechanics tour consists of returning to various sites of former
lesbian bars, the camera lingering on their doors as an often-unseen narrator
details the bars lesbian history and its present function. While
they no longer function as portals to lesbian space, as doors that once
functioned as such, they still mark for the viewer and are reminders of
the present absence of lesbian space. Moreover, as we the viewer
and our tour guide are repeatedly confronted with closed doors,
the video also foregrounds not just the absence of lesbian space, but
the inaccessibility of extant public space to lesbians.
Though its repetition of architecturally diverse doors maps a city replete
with and marked by lesbianism, as doors that are both figuratively and
literally closed to lesbians, this map presents both a lesbian city that
is no longer and a contemporary urban realm that is unavailable for public
lesbian congregation. (..)
Forthcoming in Camera Obscura, Issue 45, (2000)
visit the archive of Basis-Wien at