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Matt Lambert Sweat
Define Beauty: Sweat

Sweat, nipples & virtual embalming: alternative beauty videos you must see

TextAlex Peters

Watch the best of Nowness’s Define Beauty series ahead of the release of its new films

Next Monday (September 16), NOWNESS’s flagship beauty series Define Beauty returns. Over the last few years, Define Beauty has worked with a selection of talented directors to explore and unpick the provocation and politics of attraction. 

With this new programme, NOWNESS takes on the theme “Beauty in the Age of Influence,” exploring how technology, mass media, and hyperreality has changed our perception of beauty. 

Ahead of the release of the new films, we’ve turned our focus backwards into the archives and chosen a selection of the best for your viewing pleasure. Watch and enjoy.


Adwoa Aboah lends her voice to Matt Lambert’s provocative film Nipples, which confronts the censorship of female nipples in contemporary culture. 

"As benign as they may be, nipples have been the catalyst for major conversations that reach across gender, sexuality, and the absurd double-standards in digital censorship," Lambert explains.


In this collaboration with Dazed Beauty, Isabelle Huppert, Kim Peers and Michèle Lamy are memorialised by Frederik Heyman who asks the question: how do you want to be remembered forever? 

What emerges are digital 'wakes' in which the body, in beautiful, digital repose, will continue beyond our mortal existence.


A second Dazed Beauty collaboration, “Process” sees director Rhea Dillon explore the particularities of afro upkeep as well as the politics and societal pressures that come with black hair.

“This is a film that opens up the sensory experience of the hair ritual of a black person from start to finish. To provocatively push the audience to experience and therefore understand the weight of 5 little words: “Sorry, I’m washing my hair…” says Dillon.


In Facefixx, directorial collective Youth Hymns present their dystopian take on social media and hyperreality through the filter of body-altering apps. Ultimately they ask the question: are dog filters and cartoon eyes damaging our ability to be comfortable in our own skin?  


In Matt Lambert’s first film for NOWNESS, the director delves into the sensual side of sweat. In an interview with Amelia Abrahams, Lambert said of “Sweat:” 

“For me, it was important to make something that was erotic, but humanising at the same time. It’s so often that queer sexuality is reduced to a point of removing the personal stories that lead people toward certain tastes. Fetish becomes fashion or Tumblr-consciousness, leaving people unaware of the root of desire. 

The ambition was to make something beautiful that bordered on the grotesque, something that was both educational and intimate and allowed people to potentially see sweat in a way they hadn’t before.”


In 2015’s Names They Give Me, director Marie Schuller juxtaposes footage of dancer Remy Fox with voices of the trolls that litter comments across her social media, in a damning indictment of the way the anonymity provided by the internet has given rise to a cruel side of human nature. 

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