Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby at YYZ Artists' Outlet (401 Richmond West) to February 9. 416-598-4546. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
bad ideas for paradise, the most recent video anthem from Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, muses on subjects ranging from boy nymphettes to hungry animals. The duo's work communicates what cannot easily be articulated in words, hence the frequent use of voice filters in the sound edit of their videos. I found myself most intrigued by the skater-boy footage and narration. These exquisite boys are wankers and runts who can slump on a couch and grunt unintelligibly next to their droopy friends yet come off as implausibly clever.
They possess a beauty that is utterly incredible, without the sexiness of a hormonally volcanic bronco jock or even a Jagger boy, and they themselves are often beguiled by it. This allure, which transcends sexual category, gender and romance, makes such a boy a tabula rasa for any number of fantasies. The less he talks, the more intoxicating his symbolism becomes.
Duke and Battersby don't seem like outsiders or voyeurs. They often turn the camera on themselves in the making of their videos, becoming their own subjects. Duke, especially, surfaces with all the aggressive timidity, gleaming-toothed honesty and pseudo-vulnerability of their subjects. She refuses to be an ingenue and is herself a hungry animal and a cool boy.