Female Sensibility

1973, 14 min, color, sound

Two women, faces framed in tight focus, kiss and caress. Their interaction is silent, muted by Benglis' superimposition of a noisy, distracting soundtrack of appropriated AM radio: bawdy wisecracks of talk-show hosts and male callers, interacting in the gruff terms of normative masculinity; male country-western singers plying women with complaints about bad love and bad coffee; a man preaching on the creation of Adam and Eve. The tape's challenge may, in part, direct itself at the viewer. While one might find it easy to dismiss the gender clich├ęs of the soundtrack, it may be harder to resolve the hermetically-sealed indifference and disconcerting ambiguity (lovers? performers?) of the two women. By turns conscious of the camera and seemingly oblivious to it, their dreamy indifference is a rebuke to the disruptive chatter hovering around them, and perhaps also to the expectations of those who watch.