EN / nl
lives and works in New York City, USA and Copenhagen, Denmark
Avalon, 2011 Single-channel video, 12 min.
Maryam Jafri’s Avalon examines the manufacture of fetish clothing and accessories for the sex industry. As with her previous work, this video straddles the boundary between cinema and theatre, documentary and fiction. It begins in an unspecified Asian country where an entrepreneur (whose face is concealed) describes how he founded a clandestine, million-dollar business that exports fetish wear, with a small start-up investment from his father. The women who work as seamstresses in his small factory believe that they are sewing body bags for the US Army, straight jackets, and accessories for circus animals, though they do have their doubts. The video continues with testimony from an educated textile designer who found herself unwittingly designing for a business with which she does not personally identify, a white collar professional man who is open about his sexual identity and finally, from a woman who performs role play services using the paraphernalia in question. Avalon combines documentary footage from the factory with scripted scenes that were filmed on a specially designed set. Jafri’s script grew out of extensive archival research, observations, and interviews; her cast includes both actors and non-actors (deliberately conflating which characters are scripted and which are not). Her video is a complex investigation into the relationships between entrepreneurship, labour, use value, and the production of both commodities and subjectivities in the current global cultural economy. KG