SPINACH AND EGGS (2021) Video poem by Lee Campbell
The imagery that you can see on screen are part of my personal archive of artworks (paintings/photographs/short films/drawings etc.) as an artist from the last 25 years.
Many men go to great lengths to achieve one and to achieve a certain overall body type. I am never going to fit into (gay) society’s ideals in terms of body image.
The spaces that young queer people are creating for themselves are animated by a constant sense of self-policing, saying the right thing, being politically correct, body image ideals; feeling quite oppressed themselves. The gay male community is very controlling about what you should look like and how you should behave - why is that community stereotyping themselves? A niched community that is then even more niched. Certain subsets of gay subculture promote themselves as generating inclusive spaces whilst containing aspects that discriminate. Disenchanted with the antagonisms in the gay male community particularly towards labelling (giving gay men an identity such as ‘cub’. ‘bear’ etc.) and body shaming, my recent performance work seeks to bring about re-enchantment with the community I am part of as a gay man but at times which I feel excluded from. SPINACH AND EGGS reflects on the kinds of role that gay men are expected to conform to, where identity becomes something detached or external and how they can fit into that. Inspired by my experience of being amongst ‘cubs’ and ‘bears’ in the Kings Arms pub in London, this performance is in actual fact a ‘two fingers up’ to body shaming and labelsand saying clearly: ‘Accept me or f*ck off!’. What function does stereotyping or strict boundaries to certain kinds of labels serve? Maybe it’s about being seen. If I can say that I am ‘this’ very definite thing. I can be seen through this kind of role whereas otherwise… We always think there’s a certain kind of playfulness with these roles, but its boundaries are policed so rigidly. SPINACH AND EGGS uses gay slang ‘bear, cub' and addresses power relations in queer subcultures and particularly within queer male spaces of conviviality which engage in processes of inclusion and exclusion. It employs protest art, of modes of representation, chanting within ACT UP and queer movements, of political campaign. Reminiscent of early guerrilla protest video art from the 1980s, the performance combines fine art and moving image by including my own drawings of my body. There is so much humour in this work to critique and at times parody, for example, the line,‘Mr Spinach and Eggs, stick your rules and regs in the hole at the back of the top of my legs!’
SPINACH AND EGGS started life as a short film which has been screened at many international film festivals.. Watch here:
I then added more visuals and language (poetry) to the film and SPINACH AND EGGS now exists as a longer live Zoom performance which I am really proud of.
Project Type:Experimental, Short
Runtime:5 minutes 38 seconds
Completion Date:February 20, 2021
Country of Origin:United Kingdom
FilmPride, Brighton & Hove Pride's official LGBTQ+ film festivalBrighton
August 16, 2021
September 25, 2021
Dr Lee Campbell trained in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2005 and received his doctorate in 2016. His recent experimental performance poetry films have been selected for many international queer film festivals including Queerbee LGBT Film Festival, The Gilbert Baker Film Festival, Kansas 2020, HOMOGRAPHY, Brussels and STATES OF DESIRE: Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination, Casa de Duende, Philadelphia, USA, WICKED QUEER 202,Boston, USA, 2021 Film Vault Presents, Manchester, UK, 2021 FilmPride Brighton & Hove Pride's official LGBTQ+ film festival, Brighton, UK,Splice Film Festival 2021, Brooklyn, USA Festival ECRÃ Edition 5, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, SPHERE Festival, and Queer Life, EdgeZones, Miami, USA 2021.
He has a solo exhibition of his film work at The Sidewalk Video Gallery, Fountain Street, Boston USA in late 2021. His films have been selected for prestigious awards/nominations including:
2021 Nominee for Best Original Concept and Best Atmosphere Independent Horror Movie Awards
2021 Honorable Mention Award for 'See Me' (2020), Screener Short Films
2021 Best Kent Film nominee for ‘Peer’ (2020), Margate Bookie Film Festival
2021 Honorable Special Mention Award, Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival
2020 Semi-Finalist (3rd place winner), Splice Film Festival, New York
2019 Special Mention Award, London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival
Dr Lee Campbell describes himself as 'a Londoner who makes experimental films and performance poetry about being gay and working class using barbaric wit and humour’. He uses poetry and experimental film as a form of autoethnographic storytelling/sharing of personal narratives often raw, often painful but always generous and authentic.