My short underground doc “Chop Off” explores the body as sculptural form/performance“art” of amputation and the spectacle of the senses. I meet R.K. (aka Chop Off) at Clayton Patterson’s Gallery opening of Charles Gatewood’s fabulous black and white circus photos and color shots of S.F vampires celebrating blood sports in all its sensuous glory. Clayton introduced me to R.K telling me, “here is someone you should meet” and my immediate reaction was a shocked, light-headed dizziness when I touched his hand and felt the missing fingers. R.K. had a huge generous full-faced smile and as I asked him tons of questions about his “performance art” I noticed how intelligent and articulate he was and soon after I started work on my epic six minutes exploration of the abject
body as ritual and as spectacle.
For this film I have been influenced by “Glen or Glenda” by Ed Wood which is a experimental documentary as well as fictional feature exploring an unseen and unmentioned world of gender confusion. “Glen or Glenda” is an avant-garde film in the sense that the film explores the personal vision of the filmmaker Ed Wood as well as documentary as a plea for acceptance during the oppressive U.S.1950s.
As an underground filmmaker I am interested in people and places outside the mainstream art/film experience of art-for-art sake or pure vision. I am more attracted to the sideshows such as Coney Island sword-swallow acts of the fringe entertainment world. I remember with great fear as well as excitement the sideshows that my father would take me as a child in our coalmines and factory town of Jeannette, PA.
My film work focuses on the body in all its glory – pleasure, pain, fearful, sensuous, etc. What’s new? The Body!! Our bodies from our first breathe to our last struggle for life – who we are is within the body – not technology. Technology is an amazing intellectual form of communication but it is without intimacy, subjectivity – without the sensuous.