Various - First Person (2002)

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Turning to themselves as the first person at hand, the Mexican and American artists presented here employ their own bodies as a medium to describe their relationship to their cultural surroundings. As homogenized entertainment and media spreads its social paradigms globally, these artists are reacting to the pressure to conform to these dominant cultural stereotypes.

These works are not autobiographical. Instead the self, as a visual or verbal construct, is used as a tool to highlight pedestrian situations in order to frame their reconsideration. These artists exploit the camera¹ s gaze by addressing it directly, which turns private actions into public performances. This direct address to the camera lets the viewer know that he or she is supposed to watch, yet does not mitigate the intimacy of the act; the end result is a feeling of invited voyeurism.

The camera is integrated as a primary tool in the construction of these video-performances. Instead of creating a performance in front of an audience and videotaping it for documentation, the artist treats the recording of the performance as the primary means of experiencing the piece, rather than as its documentation: the camera is the audience. Instead of trying to make the camera invisible, the artists conceptualize their piece in order to reveal its own construction. Through thematic parody and reenactment, and structural duration and repetition, they foreground their intention to perform in front of the camera and not a live audience. In performing for the camera, as audience, they collapse the boundaries separating video art and traditional performance.

Arturo Castelán
Ximena Cuevas
Sharon Hayes
Justin Lincoln
Rodney McMillian
Amaranta Sánchez
Julia Steinmetz
Haruko Tanaka
Anne Walsh
Natalie Zimmerman

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at 12:15 PM