“Vulgate Rhythm” is a 20-minute black and white 16mm film documenting 85 different men and women applying lipstick.
The word “vulgate,” from the Latin, refers to “the masses,” to “what is common or general in nature,” and the film conveys the rhythm underlying a very commonplace experience. Yet by viewing the same act performed over and over, by a large number of people, in the same small area of the face –the nose and mouth in close-up–, we also come to understand the broad and infinite variety of individual behavior. The simple, everyday ritual of lipstick application becomes, through repetition, a social dance –an intimate personal act layered with social and voyeuristic/exhibitionistic implications.
The film has also been translated into 8 x 10 inch color photographic film stills.
Vulgate Rhythm Film Stills at Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn – 1997
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