In his video essay A Boy Needs a Friend, Steve Reinke takes us on a journey through his thoughts, truths and feelings. His voice addresses us without ever speaking directly to us. At first glance, it seems the focus of the video is homosexual relationships between men and intimate queer friendships.
Yet it soon becomes clear that the video also addresses the themes of circulation and processuality which play a central role in several of the artist’s works. A continuous loop of an animated circle that completes itself, falls apart and then builds itself again is shown while the artist talks about his wedding with his partner and the associated anxieties. The mythological figure of Ouroboros, an ancient symbol of cyclical repetition, appears as a tattoo both around the anus of one of the artist’s sexual partners and on Reinke’s own leg. Needle point images appear on screen and gradually form patterns. These are only a few of the video’s scenes which thematize development, circulation, and repetition, thereby representing constant progress.
The video belongs to the series Final Thoughts which Reinke intends to continue expanding for the rest of his life – a kind of eternal process in its own right. For him, thoughts can never be thought through to their end; they can always be rolled out anew and developed further. The video’s heterogeneous material underpins the idea of the processual. The collage-like collection of ideas resembles an ongoing work in progress; private smartphone videos, found footage, animations, graphics, photos and texts are all woven together. Every time you feel like you’re getting to grips with it: CUT. Black background, white lettering, a new clip, new ideas. The images and sound are often unconnected, with only Reinke’s words establishing the context. (Leonie Bauer)