Bathers Interior (2023)
4K video; stereo; 5:01 on loop

Bathers Interior is a short film exploring the racial and sexual valences of Asian/American desire and assimilation. The film reproduces a minor scene in the 1964 psychological drama, Woman in the Dunes / Suna no Onna, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara during the Japanese New Wave. The film features a protagonist (the eponymous “woman in the dunes”) intimately hand-bathing her captive companion. Shot at close range, the scene is one of several sexually-charged moments between the two protagonists, but it is the only one that introduces the visual language of “bathing.” 

Bathers Interior proposes a meditation on desire and disappearance as they are replayed on the site of racialized skin. The film casts skin as a site of contestation between interior and exterior–as not only a surface or bodily covering, but as a permeable membrane or interface between two subjects. The washing of skin appears as a symbol of cleansing or racial hygiene, but also as an act suffused with pleasure and desire. It probes the process of Asian/American assimilation (or dissimulation) as a profoundly complex and desirous negotiation of identity, longing and survival between the “self” and the “other.” 

Performers: Edric Young and Anna Takayo Walden 
Sound: Michael McGuire and Allie Tsubota

Bathers Interior excerpt

 


Exhibition:
Headlands Center for the Arts Project Space, CA, USA, 2023

Using Format