Videos by Ximena Cuevas | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Videos by Ximena Cuevas

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Smart, stylish, and funny, these 20 videos by Mexican artist Ximena Cuevas use surprising shifts in imagery or perspective to critique the media and the blandness of bourgeois life. Most are from her series "Dormimundo" ("sleep world"), which she calls "a documentary about the discomfort of being Mexican" in "a country of masquerades, of moral dislocations, of American dreams made of cardboard sets." In Natural Instincts (1999) a billboard on a mundane Mexican street mysteriously lights up with a movie of a futuristic hair makeover; later the street is filled with dancing blonds. Cama (1998) is a pristine furniture commercial, with repeated camera movements toward a bed and a voice-over describing "a room sanctified by the most noble and honest love," but Cuevas edits in some pretty nasty porn, piercing the sanitized ad with raw flesh. Hawaii (1999), one of several pieces tweaking the colonial attitudes of tourists, begins with vacation pictures displayed on a table and then shifts to a long take of dancing middle-aged ladies. That image soon shrinks to become another photo on the table, suggesting that we conceive of leisure in terms of banal imagery. The program runs about 80 minutes, and Cuevas will attend the screening. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Thursday, April 18, 6:00, 312-846-2800.

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