GUILLERMO GOMEZ-PENA AND MIGUEL VENTURA at Vtape (401 Richmond West, #452), to January 13. Gómez-Peöa speaks Tuesday (January 9) at 7 pm. 416-351-1317. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
If you've never been to Vtape, this is the time to go. Friendly staff and a comfortable screening room make it a perfect place to view videos from around the world.
Currently, Vtape is part of a Mexican/Canadian video exchange. Paris-based Irmgard Emmelhainz has curated a fascinating program. Screening in Mexico City and Oaxaca are works by John Greyson, Daniel Cockburn and collaborative team Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby. Toronto gets The Symptom Or the Cure? Reconfigurations Of The Post-Mexican Imaginary, by Miguel Ventura and Guillermo G&oactue;mez-Peña.
Ventura's bizarre piece How Shall I Love You My New Little One? explores gender, language and ideas of power. Both characters are intellectuals, and one gives birth to plushies in a bizarre and erotic way that recalls the work of Matthew Barney and Paul McCarthy.
An existential debate leads one character to become a "self-reproductive creator"by eating special cookies and changing into a hybrid of pink elephant, Princess Leia and a worm-faced oddity, as if a caterpillar in a cocoon or fetus in a womb were being incubated.
This video creates a strange world of confrontation, birth and transformation. It also adheres to a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Ventura has created a beguiling piece without being heavy-handed or pretentious.
Gómez-Peña, a Mexican American living in California, produces interdisciplinary work that melds historical references, pop culture and cutting-edge critique. His four pieces Declaration Of Poetic Disobedience, No Homeland/No Fear, The Great Mojado Invasion and Videograffitis are also superb viewing.