Talkin′ With Your Mouth Full

Conversations with the Videos of Steve Fagin

Talkin′ With Your Mouth Full

Book Pages: 416 Illustrations: 42 b&w photographs Published: February 1998

Art and Visual Culture, Cultural Studies, Media Studies

Steve Fagin is an artist whose videos incorporate, challenge, and cross over into the realm of literary and cultural studies. Talkin’ with Your Mouth Full includes not only scripts of Fagin’s works but critical responses to—and meditations on—a variety of his influential videos by a distinguished, if intriguingly disparate, group of artists and scholars.
Combining elements of criticism with various modes of artistic expression, these responses take the form of reviews, letters, interviews, and in one case an imaginary TV programming schedule. Interspersed with—and sometimes literally interrupting—the video scripts, these contributions interact with one another on multiple levels and complement Fagin’s scripts. Historical, political, and theoretical issues dovetail, ricochet, and interplay in this book, revealing a multiplicity of voices, concerns, and cultural revelations.
Unique in its structure and intellectual approach, Talkin’ with Your Mouth Full will appeal equally to those who have seen Fagin’s videos and those who have not. Students of art history and cultural critique, and anyone interested in the ongoing dialogue between artists and theorists, will find particular value in this book.

Contributors. Gregg Bordowitz, Constance DeJong, Leslie Dick, Steve Fagin, Barry Gifford, Victoria Gill, Bill Horrigan, Bertha Jottar, Ivone Margulies, Patricia Mellencamp, Margaret Morse, Constance Penley, Vicente L. Rafael, Mark Rappaport, Andrew Ross, Vivian Sobchack, Trinh T. Minh-ha, John Welchman, Peter Wollen


"[Fagin’s] epigrammatic wit makes him very quotable. This exceedingly generous book is a full expression of a video mind. Recommended for all collections." — M. Yacowar , Choice

“The video work of Steve Fagin . . . is masterful and humorous enough to be spellbinding. . . . Seemingly unrelated images are held together by the Krazy Glue of Fagin’s brilliant script, which expertly uses language to convey the common themes of conflict between an original slice of life and a copy, a lie and an illusion, a fictitious voyage and one that becomes absolutely real because the video maker has made it so.” — Mary Beth Crain L.A. Weekly (from a review of The Amazing Voyage of Gustave Flaubert and Raymond Roussel)

Praise for Steve Fagin:
“The retrospective of work by Steve Fagin at the Museum of Modern Art focuses the attention on one of the more accomplished video makers, whose works encompass many of the genre’s possibilities, from documentary to fiction to self-conscious commentary on the medium itself.”
  — Caryn James New York Times

From the Foreword:
“Treat this book like a cocktail party where you have the good luck to be invisible. No one cares what you are wearing, and you can eavesdrop on whomever you wish for as long as you want. . . . You will make a note to look up some of the guests later, while other guests may make you wonder who was crazy enough to invite them. You will know Steve Fagin—he’s the one talkin’ with his mouth full.” — Victoria Gill


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Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Steve Fagin, a recipient of several NEA grants, is Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California at San Diego. His videos include The Machine That Killed Bad People, Zero Degrees Latitude, Virtual Play, Memorial Day (Observed), and The Amazing Voyage of Gustave Flaubert and Raymond Roussel. Fagin’s work has been featured at a Museum of Modern Art retrospective and at a one-person show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. A recently completed, feature-length video, TropiCola, focuses on contemporary Cuba.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Foreword / Victoria Gill xi

Introduction / Steve Fagin and Victoria Gil 1

Virtual Play: The Double Direct Monkey Wrench in Black's Machinery (1984)

Waking and Shaking / Margaret Morse 29

Excerpts from Virtual Play / Steve Fagin 38

Dear Steve / Gregg Bordowitz 41

Lou: A Superficial Look / Leslie Dick 46

The Amazing Voyage of Gustave Flaubert and Raymond Roussel (1986)

The Occidental Tourist: Steve Fagin's Virtual Voyage for Armchair Travelers / Vivian Sobchack 63

An Interview with Steve Fagin / Peter Wollen 78

Script of The Amazing Voyage / Steve Fagin 103

For Steve Fagin Who Made The Amazing Voyage of Gustave Flaubert and Raymond Roussel Whose Fathers and Mothers / Constance DeJong 143

A Woman's Face / Mark Rappaport 169

In Search of the Big Perfect / Barry Gifford 212

The Machine That Killed Bad People (1990)

Disastrous Events / Patricia Mellencamp 223

Machine Talk / Steve Fagin 237

Excerpts from The Machine / Steve Fagin 244

Updates: Doubled Histories / Vicente L. Rafael 247

Voice-Over I / Trinh T. Minh-ha 261

TV Guidance / Andrew Ross 281

Zero Degrees Latitude (1993)

Confessions of a Quiet American: Fagin's Anemic Anesthetics / Ivone Margulies 295

Voice-Over from Zero Degrees Latitude / Steve Fagin 307

Out in Left Field / Constance Penley 310

Excerpts from Zero Degrees Latitude / Documentary Voices 323

Diary / Bertha Jottar 324

Memorial Day (Observed) (1995)

Ohio Impromptu / Bill Horrigan 357

Excerpts from Memorial Day (Observed) / Steve Fagin 365

Last Words

Faces, Boxes, and The Moves / John Welchman 369

Notes 391

Contributors 399
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2069-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2055-5
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