What's The Difference Between A Yam And A Sweet Potato?
(6:00, 1991)
Experimental Video Short
Director, Co-Creator (w/J.Evan Dunlap)


Commissioned by artist Shu Lea Cheang for her video porn project "Those Fluttering Objects of Desire" exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, 1992, the tape portrays one couple's take on interracial desire. The Director of Photography is acclaimed contemporary photographer Catherine Opie.


" What's the Difference Between a Yam and a Sweet Potato? by Adriene Jenik and J. Evsn Dunlap, succeeds because it hip sexual and racial politics are secondary to its humor and eroticism."

- Laura U. Marks, "Short Marks," The Village Voice, September 15, 1992.

"Adriene Jenik and J. Even Dunlap collaborated on What's the Difference Between a Yam and a Sweet Potato? and took the installation instructions about sex to heart: Jenik and Dunlap are rollin' around in bed with their questions, their images alternately moving or frozen on the screen (via the still camera Cheang employed as a mechanism in all the the tapes) as their voices question racial assumptions that both unite and divide them. Jenik and Dunlap felt that the very context of the installation - knowing they'd be one pair among sixteen women contributing - was liberatory: "It allowed us to focus on pleasure." Relieved of the burden of having to be the representative work about race and sex, they could play: with each other, with the subject, with the body and with the color of its flesh, and even the simple (not so simple) names of the food that nourishes it. And play, as with sex itself, can steer a sure route through the shoals of race." 

- B. Ruby Rich, "When Difference Is (More Than) Skin Deep," Queer Looks: Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Film and Video.

"Food and sex is the subject of the video What's the Difference Between a Yam and a Sweet Potato? (1992). Adriene Jenik and J. Evan Dnulap contemplate race, culture, vegetables, and the body parts they resemble (legs and buttocks) in a funny, sexy tape.

- Gabriel Gomez, "What A Little Glue Can Do," AfterImage, November 1992

Adriene Jenik, 2019

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