Dani Marti

Good Dog

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CountryScotland / Australia
Date2012
Medium/Dimensions4k Video 16'
CreditsCourtesy of the artist and BREENSPACE, Sydney
VenueCCA

Good Dog considers the connections between our sexual selves and the ‘living death’ of contemporary work. Graeme is a staff manager at a bowling alley where he has been employed since the age of 16. Ground down and emptied out, he finds release in his spare time by descending into an elaborate role-play in which he performs as a dog. Dani Marti films him acting out this temporary escape, capturing both his fierce need for submission and the intense self-loathing that accompanies it. Every time Graeme emerges from his play, he cries.

Drawing out closed encounters into the public sphere, Marti’s films expose the dark underside of life. He trains his camera upon homosexual men from the art world, gay scenes in his home cities and the more loose-knit communities generated by online sites like Gaydar. Carefully composed scenarios then play out within the confines of domestic interiors, each focused on a relationship with a single individual lasting anywhere between a few hours and many months. The terms of the transaction are clear: the artist offers intimacy, attention and sometimes sex in exchange for access to the inner lives of his collaborators.

As in many of Marti’s other works, Good Dog passes under society’s boundaries to reveal a private realm plagued by insecurity, dread and bitter loneliness. What at first looks like a fantastical flight from the pressures of the real world is revealed to be wholly shaped by its conditions. Capitalism has colonised sex in deep and complex ways which extend far beyond prostitution and addiction to pornography.