Lynn Hershman’s Desire Incorporated and Shadow’s Song offer sharply contrasting explorations into the video essay as personal experience, each marked by Hershman’s unyielding intent to directly confront and implicate the viewer. Desire Incorporated (30 min.) is an often hilarious and startling expose of common sexual desire in which anonymous telephone callers are asked to respond to an intentionally provocative tv solicitation. The callers are interviewed with disarming frankness, their responses finally taking shape into a complex and disconcerting cultural document. Shadow’s Song (32 min.), the fourth installment of Hershman’s Electronic Diary, begins as an intimate blow-by-blow account of the artist’s bout with brain cancer, but extends its concerns to become a meditation on life and death.
pictured: Desire Incorporated (1990) by Lynn Hershman