Ginger Minus Fred

2001-2004
2min 30 sec
Single Channel Video Loop

The late Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, was famous for saying “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels.” In Ginger Minus Fred, Fred Astaire is erased from a dance sequence with Ginger Rogers. The results are unsettling and hypnotic as she dips, bends and contorts around her non-existent dance partner. From this deconstruction of media, several ideas emerge. Her solo contortions become uncannily similar to women in the midst of performing hysterical fits. Her motions, in fact, bear a strong resemblance to Jean-Martin Charcot’s classic photographic case studies of female hysterics. The piece is itself an act of obsession, where Fred is painstakingly erased frame by frame but his presence is still visible. Though her new dance is in some ways liberating, in the end Ginger is either under the control of a ghost figure, or under the control of the artist.