Steve Reinke

Video maker

Videomaker. Trained at the NSCAD, Reinke has been a major queer presence in Canadian video art since 1990. His legendary One Hundred Videos (1989-1996), an ambitious epic project whereby he committed to producing one hundred short videos before the Millennium (he beat the deadline by almost four years!), is his demented serial masterpiece. The appropriation of fragments from the archival dumpster is one of the principal strategies in this massive agglomeration of miniature works, but there are also many dexterous examples of interactive or observational personal camerawork, as in Request (1993), where he knocks on the door of a half dozen ostensible strangers, who all happen to be male hunk co-conspirators, and asks them to disrobe for his video, which they all do without hesitation. Reinke’s recurrent voiceover is not autobiographical in the literal sense but his personal sensibility shines through this miraculous and self reflexive encyclopedia. Among Reinke’s preoccupations are the artistic process and the image-bank unconscious of civilization; the body, the self, and identity; childhood and regression; narrative and humour; and same-sex desire, obsession, transgression, fetishism, and above all voyeurism. Sometimes the titles alone tell all and my favorite is Eighty Prominent Dermatologists (1992). Since the completion of the 100 videos, Reinke has continued his prolific output despite occasional bluffs about ceasing production, in general offering longer, more complex works that often extend his traditional themes. For example, The Chocolate Factory (2002) develops his 1995 fascination for gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Originally Toronto-based, Reinke teaches at University of Illinois at Chicago.