Kiss & Tell

My work with Kiss & Tell (1992-2007)

Kiss and Tell was a Vancouver, British Columbia based performance and artist collective whose work was concerned with lesbian sexuality. Collective members Persimmon Blackbridge, Lizard Jones and Susan Stewart used the intense debates within the queer community around sexual practice in the early 1990s to create the photographic exhibition Drawing the Line. Their photographs depicted a continuum of lesbian sexual practice ranging from kissing to whipping, bondage, and voyeurism. The project encouraged gallery viewers to comment on what they saw and how it made them feel by writing directly on the walls around the prints; allowing the viewer to “draw the line” and examine their ideas and beliefs about different sexual behaviors. The show traveled widely in Canada and the United States in the 1990s, as well as showing in Australia and the Netherlands.

Lorna Boschman collaborated with Kiss & Tell in directing three video productions based on their work. She was also part of the group that secured the first exhibition of their Drawing the Line photo series at the Women In Focus Gallery’s Summer Sex Show in 1988, as documented in Drawing the Line (that’s the super 8 film footage!).

Before the New Millennium (2007)
Directed and edited by Lorna Boschman. Featuring performances by Kiss & Tell.
During the 1990’s, a Vancouver based art collective Kiss & Tell presented three major performances: True Inversions (1992), That Long Distance Feeling (1997) and Borderline Disorderly (1999). The three members of the group, Persimmon Blackbridge, Lizard Jones, and Susan Stewart are still active as artists and teachers in other disciplines.
The work recreates a perspective on cultural attitudes of the period toward performance, sexuality and censorship through reinterpreting recordings of live shows. Performances are remembered from the audience perspective, and here, the reaction of the audience is as loud as the stage show.

Two women are kissing in a bath tub in one of the photos from the Kiss & Tell exhibition
Drawing the Line (1992).
Produced and directed by Lorna Boschman. Exhibition by Kiss & Tell.

In the early 1990’s, the art collective Kiss and Tell toured North America and Australia with an installation of one hundred photos of two women in various sexual poses. Women viewers were encouraged to express their opinions by writing directly onto the walls of the gallery. Comments represented the entire spectrum of sexual desire and controversy. Combining these images with audio interviews and the sounds of lesbian sex, Boschman has created a video that is sensual, provocative and political. An important document for women’s studies and other academic and community debates about censorship and sexual representation.

The video is available from Video Out or VTape.

True Inversions (1992)
Written and produced by Kiss & Tell. Directed by Lorna Boschman.

True Inversions created its own dialectic on lesbian erotica while focusing on the differences between passions performed on and off camera, legal, social and self forms of censorship, the motion of emotion, and the eroticization of safe sex.

“Gutsy and explicit, this video documents the performance art of lesbian collective Kiss & Tell, while also playfully interrogating the video documentation process itself. Stories, sex play, and fast-paced editing make this work a must-see for feminist, lesbian, and art audiences wanting something different and fun. This tape takes on those tricky questions of responsibility for images, and avoids a simple division between anti-porn and anti-censorship feminists.” -Cameron Bailey, NOW Magazine

The video is available from Video Out or VTape.