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Once more with feeling: Performing the self in the work of Gillian Wearing, Kutluğ Ataman and Phil Collins

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This article argues for the recognition of a new trajectory of performance-on-video, using work by Gillian Wearing, Kutluğ Ataman and Phil Collins. In this trajectory the artist has disappeared behind the camera to be replaced by real, ordinary, amateur people. Given the contemporary proliferation of recordings of ordinary people performing on reality television and on the Internet, this article asks what the act of artists recording ordinary people might now ‘mean’ to us, and, equally, how real people performing in video art might themselves ‘matter’. Through close analyses of Wearing’s Confess all … Ataman’s Women Who Wear Wigs and Collins’s the world won’t listen we find that a different kind of participatory space is gained on-screen in which artist, performer and eventual gallery visitor are drawn together through affective connections. Accordingly, the article concludes that in giving attention to this new trajectory of performance-on-video, what we ultimately discover are other ways of thinking about the act of recording that make faith in the subject possible once again.

Keywords: affect; ordinary people; performance-on-video; performativity; recording; video art

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Otago

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • The Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ) is the first international peer-reviewed scholarly publication devoted to artists' film and video, and its contexts. It offers a forum for debates surrounding all forms of artists' moving image and media artworks: films, video installations, expanded cinema, video performance, experimental documentaries, animations, and other screen-based works made by artists. MIRAJ aims to consolidate artists' moving image as a distinct area of study that bridges a number of disciplines, not limited to, but including art, film, and media.
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