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Amami Se Vuoi

Michael Curran
1994
5 Mins Colour Video

Amami Se Vuoi

Curran enacts a sexual fantasy in this touching, yet slightly unsettling piece.

The artist lies naked on a table, while a male friend/lover/stranger proceeds to repeatedly spit in his open mouth. An atmosphere of almost bacchic abandon is assisted by the lyrical soundtrack playing in the background.

"A naked man ritualistically lies down and smokes a cigarette. In a bored voice, he instructs someone off camera to turn on the music. A clothed hunk then approaches and leaning sensuously over the ecstatic prone figure spits into his open mouth for the duration of the song.

'He came up to me and spread my jaws with his steel grip. I stayed that way. He took his distance again, leaned over a bit to the right, aimed and spat into my mouth. An almost unconscious movement of deliglutition made me swallow the gob.' In his novel Miracle Of The Rose Jean Genet imagines that this torture by his fellow borstal boys could be transformed into a courtly gesture if the spit was replaced by rose petals; Todd Haynes made this visual transposition in his film Poison. Although Genet wondered elsewhere why it was permitted to drink your lover's tears but not his snot, the image of spitting into someone's mouth remains taboo.

Inspiring disgust, derision and fascination, Amami Se Vuoi evokes the corporeal performance art of the Vienna Aktiongruppe. Meaning an indifferent 'love me if you want', the film could also be an open window onto a private sexual ritual, which then suggests the homemade video pornography that caters for 'specialist perversions'.Like Michael Curran's thematically similar l'heure autosexuelle, this deceptively simple image never explained itself but is open to a variety of interpretations. It could be a metaphor for self-hatred or homophobia, or a salient statement about sadomasochistic power relationships and control."

Jane Giles, What You See Is What You Get catalogue, page 26

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