User:Nicole Hametner/Reading, Writing & Research Methodologies 2012-TM1.05

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The staging of the spectator

The author analyses the role of the spectator in specific art works. In Kidnap the artist group Blast Theory imitate the situation of a kidnapping by casting volunteers for taking part as the victims. Then the show can be seen through cameras, which can be manipulated on the internet, where the audience watch the faked scenes placed under surveillance. While watching reality TV the consumer stays invisible. In some of the art works described in this chapter, the role of the spectator changes to the centre of the scene. Like in Bruce Nauman’s Going Around the Corner from 1970, the spectator recognizes himself in monitors placed in a corner and while approaching them his image disappears. He is constantly haunting behind himself. In this piece there is nothing else to see, unless the interaction nothing happens. It is a representational space and introduces us in Walter Benjamin’s sense to architectures of experience. Susan Marshall’s Spectators at an Event from 1994 is a performance with a projected photograph of Weegee of a crowd starring on an accident, which is itself not visible in the picture. During the performance the audience is filmed and in short moments as well projected on the screen. A distraction comes up, the role of the audience is being questioned. Then the author writes about Elin Diamond and her theory about the gestus of Brecht. The gestus of showing allows moments of revelation for the public. Diamond analyses a performance where again the audience is included and showed on screens. The result is a double identification that Diamond suggests as key to understanding a progressive, feminist performance practice. Julia Scher’s work explores the technologies of surveillance in an artistic context; the projects are created as individuals interact. It is about the focus between the process of self-reproduction and the unpredictable behaviour of the security machine.