Jesper Just’s polished video operas flirt with overwrought emotion and repressed desire. They track highly mannered noir scenarios in which an indecipherable relationship unfolds between a younger man and older men. Instead of an easily intelligible theatric purpose, there are only dimly-lit affiliations, stolen glances and loose ends, as the stereotypes of masculinity are refigured within ambiguous mises-en-scène. Innuendo, insinuation and allusion are all tweaked so that protagonists operate in an inescapable chain of cause-and-effect. Cast members, screenwriters and director go unnamed when the credits roll; the sense of an ending is deferred and conclusion is avoided. In 2006, Outset collaboratively gifted ‘The Lonely Villa’ (2004), a video which presents several men sitting in silence, waiting for the telephones in front of them to ring. A narrative of misplaced anticipation, a telephone starts to ring during the first frame, but it does not belong to the man who anxiously answers it. The tense opening section develops into a father and son unsettlingly singing a duet over the telephone, an old 30’s love song, while the other men in the room provide a chorus for the eerie libretto.
Just’s videos are tragicomic episodes where the male protagonists (lovers or companions or fathers and sons) experiment with the different possibilities of their own identity and their sexual roles.