Saturday, April 25, 2009

'baby's on fire' artist statement

‘baby’s on fire’ a video installation by,
anne kunsemiller

The scopophiliac lens requires, or at the very least, requests a prurient gaze. In this video installation I discard such expectations involved in the act of looking. Although the spectator is still allowed a degree of voyeurism, I have replaced the lens with something closer to a two-way mirror. In this way, I stimulate introspection in the viewer that parallels my own self-reflective experience in making the videos.

Further, I destabilize the viewer’s process of locating himself in relation to the image and narrative by teasing out the contradictions involved in the act of visual pleasuring. For example, Staring Contest (projected on the far wall) is at first about the subject’s awareness of an audience, but when the unblinking eyes finally water and drop a tear, the audience reacts emotionally to what is in fact only a physical phenomenon. Similarly, by constantly rejecting any decided storyline, I challenge the tropes of cinematic narrative in Lucky, Lucky Girl, here depriving the viewer of their role as the interpreter of coherent meaning. This destabilization is reinforced by the installation itself, which invites spectators to stand above, behind, between, below, and in front of the works as they move through the gallery.

The video installation is not to be trusted; not to be taken at face value. If you look close enough, you just might fall in. I do not suggest any answers, but instead quote from musician Brian Eno, “baby’s on fire/better throw her in the water.” So tell me then, is she just too damn hot, or actually heading for disaster?