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Black and White: Mercedes de Acosta's Glorious Enthusiasms

Black and White: Mercedes de Acosta's Glorious Enthusiasms Copyright © 2001 by Camera Obscura Camera Obscura 45, Volume 15, Number 3 Published by Duke University Press 227 Camera Obscura queer optical exercise, however, reversing figure and ground, the negative space can be seen as the fullest in the composite portrait, for it is occupied with our desire. Only on this screen can be projected a story in which both stars are featured, in which their narcissism melts into homoerotic passion. In her 1991 videotape Encuentro entre dos reinas [Meeting of two queens], Chilean video artist Cecelia Barriga manipulates clips from Queen Christina (dir. Rouben Mamoulian, US, 1933) and The Scarlett Empress (dir. Josef von Sternberg, US, 1934) as well as excerpts from the two stars’ other films in a fashion strikingly similar to the 1934 mass culture artifact. She reedits their films in a series of vignettes without dialogue, alternating and juxtaposing scenes and motifs to make their coming together seem inevitable: Catherine and Christina, Dietrich and Garbo, encounter each other in a fantasy space; in other words, they costar in a movie.2 Besides intercutting to match glances and actions, in several sequences the video uses effects to include both stars in the same frame. Barriga’s http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Camera Obscura Duke University Press

Black and White: Mercedes de Acosta's Glorious Enthusiasms

Camera Obscura , Volume 15 (3 45) – Jan 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Camera Obscura
ISSN
1529-1510
eISSN
1529-1510
DOI
10.1215/02705346-15-3_45-227
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Copyright © 2001 by Camera Obscura Camera Obscura 45, Volume 15, Number 3 Published by Duke University Press 227 Camera Obscura queer optical exercise, however, reversing figure and ground, the negative space can be seen as the fullest in the composite portrait, for it is occupied with our desire. Only on this screen can be projected a story in which both stars are featured, in which their narcissism melts into homoerotic passion. In her 1991 videotape Encuentro entre dos reinas [Meeting of two queens], Chilean video artist Cecelia Barriga manipulates clips from Queen Christina (dir. Rouben Mamoulian, US, 1933) and The Scarlett Empress (dir. Josef von Sternberg, US, 1934) as well as excerpts from the two stars’ other films in a fashion strikingly similar to the 1934 mass culture artifact. She reedits their films in a series of vignettes without dialogue, alternating and juxtaposing scenes and motifs to make their coming together seem inevitable: Catherine and Christina, Dietrich and Garbo, encounter each other in a fantasy space; in other words, they costar in a movie.2 Besides intercutting to match glances and actions, in several sequences the video uses effects to include both stars in the same frame. Barriga’s

Journal

Camera ObscuraDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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