CONFUSED: SEXUAL VIEWS
Paul Wong, 1984
4 channel video installation, 9 hr., colour, stereo. w/ 27 photographs
or single channel edit, 22 min., colour, stereo
Confused: Sexual Views was the controversial exhibition that was censored by the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1984 as ‘not art’. The ensuing years of legal battles highlighted the inability of art institutions, such as the VAG, to understand and exhibit contemporary media art forms and it’s issues. In 2002, Confused: Sexual Views was acquired by the Vancouver Art Gallery for it’s permanent collection and exhibited.
The installation Confused: Sexual Views was part of a three-phase project that also included Confused [the videotape] and Confused [the performance]. It was produced just before AIDS had reached epidemic proportions. Twenty-seven individuals face the camera head-on as they speak about bisexuality, especially its more complex and engaging aspects, such as the relationship between sexuality, love, and friendship. Without mincing words, they challenge the conventions of behaviour and human relations conveyed by commercial film and television, and refute the myths surrounding the notion of romantic love. The intent here is to question the constrictive mores that sanction only one style of love, and to examine the many forms of desire and sexuality experienced in our culture, approaching them from a variety of perspectives.
In the collaborative experimental video project Confused: Sexual Views Compilation Edit (1984), Paul Wong, Gary Bourgeois, Jeanette Reinhardt and Gina Daniels challenge the constrictive social mores that govern who and how we love. Through 27 frank interviews on sexuality and its many dimensions from a variety of perspectives, subjects emphasize the interconnections of intimacy, friendship and family while refuting popular myths surrounding the notion of romantic love. Controversial in its day for its uncensored and unapologetic questioning of the values ascribed to human relationships, the work examines the many forms of desire and sexuality that exist in our world. This compilation edit comprises excerpts from all of the original interviews, which totalled nine hours.
Through these many mediums and modes of presentation, Over the Rainbow pays homage to the courage and creativity of the LGBTQ2S+ artists in their continued struggle to promote equality and respect. As the Lesbian Rangers, Dempsey and Millan remind viewers, “Do unto lesbians as you would have lesbians do unto you.” The motto, applicable to all LGBTQ2S+ individuals and an underlying message of the exhibition, attests to the power of artistic and social visibility, and serves as a reminder of how much has been gained and how much more needs to be challenged.
National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
Director: Paul Wong
co-produced with Gary Bourgeois, Gina Daniels, and Jeanette Reinhardt
Vtape, Video Out, Paul Wong Projects