One thing that is becoming clearer to me is that the Office at Night interests me in ways that go well beyond the photographic objects I am creating.
This brings up a familiar question: what form do I want to give to these conceptual concerns. And, related to this, how can an excess in conceptual – and I suspect performative – interest be finding its way into a photography course.
I do have a strong sense that I am pursuing a particular aesthetic form, it is not that the form is redundant or of no interest to me; and yet, I am hesitant to pursue highly aestheticised images (my comment on Helen Sear’s pointed to that; and so do various other offline notes).
So, then… what is my gripe, concern, rubbing up against the aesthetic?
Starting to explore this, I asked course mates on the flickr forum for links to their own projects and other artists who have worked between performance and photography.
My questions was this:
I am more and more interested in photography as performance and its role in performance… I would like to figure this out more for the course of DI&C and would appreciate pointers to (a) your own projects where the photography was performative or to document performance; and (b) also some artists who work with this… one of the things I’m trying to figure out is the role of aesthetics to this; e.g., if the main piece really is a performance/ social practice, what does it mean for producing photographs of it… any thoughts would be great, many thanks!
I got plenty and very useful responses, and this is a start to work through them in a more public form.
From the artists that are unfamiliar, two projects grabbed my interest very easily:
Erwin Wurm One-Minute Sculptures, begun in 1977
The performer is instructed, on hand-written notes to take a ridiculous, often difficult pose that has her interact with some everyday objects; the duration of the sculpture (not called performance) is so that it enables a photograph of it to be taken.
A series of the photographs of this are available at http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/erwin-wurm-1
Eikoh Hosoe Kamaitachi (1969)
A series of b&w photographs of a collaboration of the artist and an actor, Hijikata, where the latter becomes the Kamaitachi, a ‘sickle-toothed weasel’ that haunts the countryside and people of Hosoe’s childhood. The photographs are the result of Hijikata’s spontaneous interactions with people and place.
Eikoh Hosoe on Kamaitachi from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.
- I am interested in a relational process, an interaction, – these two projects exemplify such interaction (between people and/or objects); I am also interested in the role of the photographer/ author in this; again something that is raised – albeit in different ways – by these projects;
- I am less interested in the performance being stilled, i.e. the projects where the artist enacts a different identity, which then is stilled in the photograph. There is something in the solely performing for the camera (and the imagined audience that then sees the photograph afterwards), that is not the focus of my concern right now.