[One of three videos completed while artist in residence at Impakt, with assistance from the Mondriaan Foundation and the City of Utrecht.]



Beaver Skull Magick


The video, known by several titles — most frequently "Shake the Bear" or "Shake That Bear," shortened often to "STB" — has twelve shots and is just over 90 seconds.

In the first shot, a woman points a hunting rifle and takes a shot at a bear in tree.

In the second shot, she takes a second shot.

In the third shot, the bear falls.

In the fourth shot, the hunter lets out a triumphant yelp.

In the fifth shot, she stands over the bear and pokes it with her rifle.

I didn't add this music.

The sixth shot is a close-up of the bear's face, the bear's snout, as it lies dead on the forest floor.

For the sake of dignity, I am blocking out portions of the image.

In the seventh shot, a man is fucking the hunter from behind. She is leaning on the bear-corpse.

In the eighth shot, they are still fucking. The man seems like a generous and patient lover.

Ninth shot: more fucking.

In a sense, they are acting out the story of Adam and Eve, but for a postlapsarian world. They are taking revenge.

In the tenth shot, the man pulls out and ejaculates on the hunter's buttocks.

In the eleventh shot, dogs tear at the bear's likely still warm flesh.

In the twelfth and final shot, the hunter — now clothed and surrounded by other hunters — smokes a cigarette and takes a swig from a bottle of Wild Turkey.

You cannot really call yourself an animal if your brain is bigger than your teeth.

Beavers are a hybrid of humans, bears and little nest-building birds. Beavers combine the best qualities of humans, bears and little nest-building birds.

If a bear and a human were to cross-breed, the best one could hope for would be a Russian circus performer. If a beaver and human were to cross-breed, you would get half the time a beaver, half the time a human. Genetically they would not mix but slip.

There is here, in this image, both potent and feeble, a desire for building, assuming and maintaining an identity that is transcultural and transspecies. Is it wrong of me to address the desires of Grey Owl but not those of the beaver, who is named Rawhide? No, because Grey Owl looks directly into the camera thereby opening up a channel or conduit for desires to run from screen to viewer, while Rawhide neglects or refuses to engage us so directly, keeping its internal psychic world to itself. But perhaps it is not even Grey Owl who looks out at us. Perhaps it is we who look back and in at Grey Owl, while it is Archibald Bellamy who looks out at us.