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Contact, Voyeurism in Contemporary Art, (Some Contextualization).

Authors:

Abstract

Voyeurism has been an intrinsic and central aspect of Visual Art creation and consumption throughout history, it directly mirrors music in this sense where the incitement to dance is equally linked to those who prefer to watch. Music and Art have celebrated voyeuristic or the dalliance of sexual attraction. Since Elizabethan times songs have celebrated foot fetishism beneath a table where song playfully explores implicit desire between couples, at table, where their tryst is yet to be consummated. An unseen conceit listeners reflect upon, or substitute themselves through imagining or desire. In the visual arts the notion of voyeurism, or being privy to some secret view or dimension paralleled musical suggestive innuendo.
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15th February 2013
Click to use Flash
Across the crowded disco room
Through a maze of dancing people
She sits so quiet and all alone
Wanting to get the disco fever
And then she raised her head
Her eyes caught mine
And that was all that I needed
In her eyes I saw the need for love
The warm, soft feeling
'Cause we made
Eye to eye contact
Eye to eye contact (Oh, oh, oh yeah)
Eye to eye contact
(We made) Eye to eye contact
You and me
Contact!
‘Contact’ Edwin Starr 1979
Contact between humans is, of course, crucial for our existence and continued expansion around the world.
Edwin Starr’s 1979 classic disco anthem celebrates a collective desire to not only be acknowledged (seen) but also
to extend that acknowledgement within the accepted frame of mutual desire. The fact that the song was conceived
Contact, 'Voyeurism in Art'
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for a discotheque situates the work within the specified area of focus where, it would be supposed, that if we join
that dance we are complicit and willing participants to its stated aims ‘Contact’. We become players within the
song’s conceptual structure where we celebrate its aims through our engagement with it.
Starr’s music is not unique. Since Elizabethan times songs have celebrated foot fetishism beneath a table where
song playfully explores implicit desire between couples, at table, where their tryst is yet to be consummated. An
unseen conceit listeners reflect upon, or substitute themselves through imagining or desire. In the visual arts the
notion of voyeurism, or being privy to some secret view or dimension paralleled musical suggestive innuendo.
[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-
KoD5diDKivw/UR4vcS46H9I/AAAAAAAAA1Y/zl47GCiYIN8/s1600/woman-bathing-in-a-stream-rembrandt-1654.jpg]
Rembrandt*‘Woman*Bathing*in*a*Stream’*(1654)***!
Rembrandt’s painting situates the viewer in an intimate position, as if they may be on the other side of the stream
the woman is crossing. The angle is low, as if slightly looking upwards and across so the viewer may be reclining on
the side of the stream’s edge. It is an intimate painting from a time where such an exposure of flesh would be
inappropriate.
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Rembrandt.**‘Lucretia’*1664
The painting above clearly indicates the style of costume from the period Rembrandt was working. Rembrandt Van
Ryn’s work celebrates costume throughout his lifetime, where he painted several self-portraits in costume; playing
with his own identity or status. Full-length costume would have been expected for a woman to wear in public.
‘Woman Crossing a Stream’ is an erotic image in comparison to the painting of Hendrickje Stoffels as Lucretia ten
years later. Her lack of costume crossing the stream was calculated in its execution.
[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-
pEgFVCc7r10/UR4wxGHEpGI/AAAAAAAAA1o/sulGzkyo8dc/s1600/las_meninas.jpg]
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Velasquez ‘Las Meninas’ (1656)
While Rembrandt was playing with voyeuristic depictions of half clothed women in water in Holland the Spanish
painter Valesquez was working in a similar yet more complex way playing with how an image is observed,
understood or experienced.
Velasquez’s (1655-6) painting ‘Las Meninas’ takes the voyeuristic experience of painting to another level. The
viewer’s eye is led through the painting in complex ways, beyond the singular triangular focal plane established by
Rembrandt. In Velasquez’s work there are several key focal positions exposed. The painter is situated facing the
canvas, almost bisecting the entire, viewed, left hand side of the painting.
In Las Meninas we witness an artist playing an immediate game where the game itself is exposed by the significant
presence of the canvas as a bold and deliberate statement in terms of creating a framing edge and defining position
for the image’s context. It is celebrated as a painting. The image of the male figure in the background at the
doorway is as a voyeur looking across the scene. Behind the painter is what has been variously discussed as a
mirror depicting the reflection of the king and queen where, if this supposition were correct, this would place them in
the position of the viewer themselves, looking at the painting from the front.
Velasquez’s painting establishes a significant perspective in terms of contemporary art understanding as it playfully
introduces multiple readings and visual games within a work, while casting questions about relationships within the
image itself and those of the viewer with the work.
!"#$%&'(")&*+,'-."#/'0*1&123&')3&4'5*6"#7'8'93/":'02137,';*<%"'!*$$"7='>?@A?B
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[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-
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Out of historical sequence but directly related to Velasquez is a photograph by the late fashion photographer Helmut
Newton whose work dominated and redefined an edgy and perverted vision of fashion photography in the 1980’s.
Newton’s photograph ‘Self Portrait with Models & Wife’ shows the photographer reflected in a mirror as he takes the
photograph directly behind a cropped body shot of a nude fashion model. To the left of shot is a pair of high-heeled
legs, while Newton’s wife, June Browne, looks from within the image towards the model being photographed.
Behind June Browne is a corridor with its door open leading directly to the street outside where cars pass by.
The image critically captures Newton’s own perception of his role and life as a fashion photographer where he
effectively isolates beauty yet leaves an opening for ‘real life’ to exist within the realms of fashion photography. The
fetishized aspects of control within this image have been the subject of much conjecture regarding control and the
role of the model in the midst of the photograph that we are unable to fully see. June Browne’s role within the
image as Director, stylist, editor, valedictory presence or collaborator layers additional potential readings within the
constructed image. Newton’s presence as a stereotypically ‘raincoat clad’ voyeur surrounded by women with a
camera separating him from the very artifice he has engineered reduces the often levelled criticisms of his work as
being stereotypically power orientated over women. The central figure of the model is a representation of a woman
larger than the frame of the camera’s lens where only her reflection is fully realised. It is she who is able to connect
immediately with the outside world while everyone else within the image is looking towards her (inwardly) while the
viewers' point of view is mediated through Newton's singular lens.
52+"&'8'&4"'C3")"1'27'C*D"%1='>E1"'D*%'52+'"+*%<4'/*1'2'52+"&BF
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LaoqfI3ds/UR4yjBJzOdI/AAAAAAAAA14/o8qUUXa1MJI/s1600/FileEdouard_Manet_A_Bar_at_the_Folies-
Berge%CC%80re_r650x390.jpg]
Edouard'Manet,'‘The'Bar'at'the'Folies-Bergere’'(Le'Bar'aux'Folies-Bergère)'(1882)
One hundred years before Helmut Newton, Edouard Manet painted a barmaid at work in the Folies-
Bergere, Paris. The instantaneous appearance of the painting's composition immediately references
photography or film where the focus of the image is pulled between foreground and the reflected
background. The seeming ease of the image is testament to Manet’s skills in manipulating
composition, colour, texture and light. Manet’s painting captures the reflection of the patrons of ‘The
Folies’. While they are not clearly discernable we get an impression of how popular this event and
theatre were. Simultaneously we not only focus on the girl before us, enquiring what she can supply
us with, but also and unusually her back as a full reflection in the mirror and / or the reflected
audience who we may also be scanning to see if we either know someone or would like to get to
know one of those reflected before us. The reflection of the male figure in the top right hand corner
of the painting is out of perspective when considered in his proximity to the barmaid. Her reflected
posture seems slightly more bent towards the reflected figure than it does from the frontal view. Seen
in this way Manet has cleared the image to focus on how he has experienced the compositional
content. He has altered what may have been real to allow for a different reading or emphasis of that
which he has selected to work from. In Manet’s world we become, are invited or challenged to
complete the work with our presence. We complete the painting through our own gaze back
towards the barmaid. The painting functions in many ways celebrating the rise of urban Parisian life
where we as viewer are situated in the crucial position of socialising with the work’s conceptual core.
This is a highly staged, self-conscious construct where elements of reality have been celebrated
within a more personally considered reflection upon social human interaction within the context of
commercial consumption. Manet would have been acutely aware of photography’s presence and its
increasing popularity as significant technical developments in the medium coincided with his own life
experiences. Louis Igout’s photographic work from 1880 provided artists with classic poses to work
from, study or reference for the purposes of painting, without recourse to live models. Manet would
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[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1FtmypHWX8M/UR40BdYadbI/AAAAAAAAA2c/PIkWMD7soYE/s1600/hb_1993.270.jpg]
have been aware if not a collector of such imagery as part of his studio library.
‘The decade of the 1850s was a "golden age" in the art of photography. Artists of great vision and skill took up a
fully mature medium, tackled ambitious subjects, and lavished care in producing large, richly toned, and colorful
prints for a select group of fellow artists or wealthy patrons. By the 1860s, times were changing, and the medium
became increasingly industrialized. Instead of mixing chemicals according to personal recipes and hand coating
their papers, photographers could buy commercially prepared albumen papers and other supplies. Increasingly, the
marketplace pressured photographers to produce a greater quantity of cheaper prints for a less discerning
audience. In marketing to a middle class, aesthetic factors such as careful composition, optimal lighting conditions,
and exquisite printing became less important than the recognizable rendering of a familiar sight or famous person.’
Malcolm Daniel, Department of Photographs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/infp/hd_infp.htm [http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/infp/hd_infp.htm]
Left; Académies, ca. 1880
Louis Igout (French, 1837–1881)
Albumen silver print from glass negative,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art , USA.
[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-
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Edouard Manet 1874, Nadar
It is clear that Manet had a thorough understanding and awareness of contemporary photography
and photographers in his lifetime. Edouard Manet’s development of painting in the face of an
increasingly sophisticated photographic technology was in line with Impressionist painters such as
Edgar Degas in embracing or utilising photographic references in composition, focus or content
extending and challenging accepted or conventional representational ideologies of their time.
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[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-
iRx_wXvbFRk/UR41l8ngcCI/AAAAAAAAA2s/zA_oFrPU-ZU/s1600/miss-la-la-at-the-cirque-fernando-
1879.jpg!Blog.jpg]
Degas’ 'Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando', 1879, National Gallery, London, UK
"#$%&'!()&&!*%!*%!%+!+,#!-)./0#!1#.2%234!exemplifies those contemporary artists’ awareness of the necessity
to evolve painting in line with the technological developments of their times in 1880’s Paris. If photographers were
presenting folios of classically posed models as serious minded artifacts, painting moved to a more dynamic and
fluid interpretation of reality than that of a mechanized eye and tripod even if the original concept for the painting
was based on or taken from a photograph!
G6*%216'52+"&,'-H4"'I%+J4"*+'*+'&4"'K1277:''>Le#déjeuner#sur#l'herbeB,'?ALM
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[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-
oAh7qXD5DW0/UR50Nbrkn6I/AAAAAAAAA3Q/ZkhFRaJYSsk/s1600/Manet,_Edouard_-
_Le_De%CC%81jeuner_sur_l%27Herbe_(The_Picnic)_(1).jpg]
[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-
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Concert*Champetre,*Titian*or*Giorgione*1509,*Louvre*Museum,*Paris.*
Nineteen years before ‘The Bar at the Folies-Bergere’ Manet’s work was not deemed fit to hang within the galleries
of academic art. While Folies- Bergere was accepted and hung, with Manet established as a modern and
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accomplished artist in 1882; his 1863 painting ‘The Luncheon on the Grass’ (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe), caused a
furore over its content. The presence of a nude woman seemingly relaxed in the company of two fully dressed male
companions as another female washes herself in the water behind the scene was perceived as scandalous. The
nude was perceived as being a prostitute, while her gaze and that of her immediate male companion is aimed
outwardly towards the viewer. The position of the second male with bohemian head attire, his outstretched arm and
linear alignment of limbs in the foreground creates and emphasizes a triangular shape, encouraging the viewer’s eye
to move around the painting’s central compositional area. The figure of the female washing creates a second
triangular shape extending the movement from right to left by moving upwards. Such ideas in painting were
classical in their provenance. Student artists throughout the history of western art were taught the Golden Section
as well as being expected to be able to discuss how they had developed compositional initiatives or personal,
symbolic ideas extended from Romantic or Classical traditions.
The evidence of classical structure, balance and movement throughout Manet’s 1863 painting and his obvious
awareness of classical composition has drawn attention to Titian’s 1509 painting ‘Concert Champetre’ in the
Louvre, Paris collection which Manet would almost certainly have been familiar with. For Manet to take a three
hundred and fifty year old work, effectively updating the content and re-evaluating the way in which such an image
may operate within the society of his own times is testament to Manet’s intelligence and visionary repositioning of
painting within what would have been a rapidly changing industrialized society. Manet deftly situates the characters
within his painting as Bohemians from their own time.
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+,#!#%&;!=.)?)C#$#!4<!>)+)%27&!+):#&!8,#2!+,#!=%+.42!4.!64::)&&)42#.!4<!%!=%)2+)2$!840C3!24+!,%?#
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[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oOyCWzN0xR8/UR51RsQXH-
I/AAAAAAAAA3g/JIhLcMFFjAE/s1600/jaquet-lherbe-large-410x372.jpg]
Alain Jacquet, 1939-2008 (France) *Dejeuner sur l'herbe, 1964
Alain Jaquet’s 1964 reworking of Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe as a half tone image redolent of street billboard
printing of its time remains faithful to Manet’s overall composition and in its own way pre-empts much current
internet art where classical or classic imagery is appropriated or modified with ever increasingly strange additions as
online artistic interventions or simply ‘fan art’.
The use of a half tone technique emphasizes the emblematic or projected aspect of commercial imagery where the
image effectively ‘gels’ the further the viewer is distanced from the original.
Jaquait’s image alters the emphasis subtlely where the characters within the image are frozen as if they are looking
towards a camera especially for the moment to be recorded.
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i4oUDHcGP24/UR73Zy92AxI/AAAAAAAAA4E/kzC6ZYY5oBY/s1600/VitoAcconci_Undertone72.tiff]
Vito Acconci’s video “Undertone” is as much about Acconci connecting with the audience as his connection
with himself. “I can sit in front of the monitor, stay concentrated on myself, dwell on myself, see myself in
the round” (Kaizen 269). Acconci records himself in order to investigate himself thoroughly and plays then
plays it for the viewer so the viewer can learn from the artists’ own experience. The position of the table
directly in front of the viewer allows the viewer to come into the scene and gives viewer the sense of playing
an active roll in this discussion between Acconci and the magical women under the table and between Acconci
and the viewer. “Video became an improved mirror-a hyper-mirror- that allowed self to be examined from all
angles and from every side”(Kaizen 269).
[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-
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I!JKLJ!M42;N!>49;4O!P)3#4!(42)+4.!-P(HKQRS!
The perspectival triangulation of Acconci’s video work ‘Undertone’ situates the viewer at the opposite end of a table,
facing the artist. Acconci’s ‘pose’ is reminiscent of a prisoner receiving a visitor. Everything in frame is pared back
to a minimum.
‘The brightly coloured giantism of Pop art is replaced by mono- chrome miniaturisation. The studio is a domestic
space rather than a factory or laboratory. The recondite philosophy of Conceptual art is replaced by everyday life
and autobiography.’
McAuliffe, C. (2007) ‘After the Age of Aquarius: American art in the early seventies’. University of Melbourne.
Acconci’s clothing is basic, the empty space has nothing to distract the viewer’s eyes from the subject. The device
of a perspectival view down a table to the artist narrator situates the viewer as the recipient or confidante in this
intimate video work. Dialogue is softly spoken, the viewer has to be attentive to fully appreciate the almost
whispered confessional of the artist as he states that there is a woman under the table rubbing his thighs. As
viewers we complete the work. Without an audience the artist is merely talking (ranting) to themselves. As the work
is transmitted to ‘an Other’, we become voyeurs in this act. Acconci delivers a secondary text stating that there is
no girl under the table but that he needs the viewer to be there to listen to this narrative.
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6C4&#H0=!=4&)+)42@!>,#!6%:#.%!)&!F)T#3@!!>,#!=#.<4.:%26#!%2):%+#&!+,#!84.9@!!\4&+H=.4306+)42!#<<#6+&
%.#!&):=C#!;#+!#<<#6+)?#C;!:%&9!%2;!)::#3)%+#!#:=,%&)&!4<!+,#!%.+)&+7&!#T=4&0.#!4<!,#.!D.#%&+&@!!>,#
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3)&+0.D)2$!)2!)+&!=.4E#6+)42!+,%2!&#306+)?#@!!>,#!3)$)+%C!=.46#&&)2$!4<!+%=#!+#6,24C4$;V!8,)6,!4<+#2
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3#$#2#.%+)?#V!#T,%0&+#3!?)3#4!):%$#!D#6%:#!%2!%#&+,#+)6!&+;C#!4<!)+&!482@!52!+,)&!)2&+%26#!+,#
3)$)+)G%+)42!#<<#6+)?#C;!%33&!+4!+,#!84.9V!#:=,%&)G)2$!)+&!%$#!%23!+,#.#<4.#!)+&!%0+,4.)+;!%&!%2
,)&+4.)6%C!84.9@
>,#!84.9!)&!)2+):%+#!)2!+,#!8%;!%!3%26#.!=#.<4.:&!<4.!02&##2!?)#8#.&@!!`#+!+,)&!6.%G#3!3%26#!)&!:4.#
=0.=4&#C;!<4.!+,#!%.+)&+7&!482!.#C#%&#@!!Y)&+!:)T#&!,#.!&+.%)$,+!%23!<%2!D%&#3!.#23)+)42!4<!+,#!_#%+C#&
C;.)6&!8)+,!+,#!&=#3!0=!%23!&C48#3!+):)2$&!4<!+,#!&42$V!%C&4!)26C03)2$!+,#!_#%+C#&7!4.)$)2%C!?#.&)42!4<
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+,#!&42$@!!AW%==)2#&&!)&!%![%.:!B027!8%&!%!&#T0%CC;!=.4?46%+)?#!&42$!C4%3#3!8)+,!340DC#!#2+#23.#@!
Y)&+7&!+%9#!42!+,#!C;.)6&!#:=,%&)G#!+,#!4=#2)2$!C)2#&!4<!+,#!&42$!)2!+,#!8%;!+,%+!:%2;!4<!0&!#T=#.)#26#
%!&2)==#+!4<!%!&42$!)2!40.!#?#.;3%;!C)?#&@!!>,#!84.9!6%2!D#!=4&)+)42#3!2#%+C;!%&!%!3).#6+!$#2#.%+)42%C
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0=C4%3&!4<!=#4=C#!3%26)2$!)2!<.42+!4<!%!6%:#.%!%23!0=C4%3)2$!)+!$C4D%CC;@
I66426)7&!?)3#4!84.9&!%.#!642<#&&)42%C!%23!)2+):%+#V!+,#;!%CC03#!+4!.#=.#&&)42!4.!%!AF).&+!?4)6#7N
#T=.#&&)2$!+%D44!)3#%&!4.!<##C)2$&!=.#?)40&C;!2#?#.!=.)?)C#$#3!%+!%2!)23)?)30%C7&!C#?#C!4<!3)&+.)D0+)42
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?)3#4!)&!&#C<!#?)3#2+!+,.40$,!,)&!+#T+V!8,#.#!,#!#:=,%&)G#&!,)&!482!2##3!<4.!%2!%03)#26#!+4!?%C)3%+#
,)&!#T=.#&&)42@!!>,)&!6%2!%C&4!D##2!&##2!%&!+,#!2##3!4<!%2!#T,)D)+)42)&+!+4!9248!+,%+!+,#).!84.9&!%.#
D#)2$!4D&#.?#3!4.!.#6#)?#3V!:%2;!%.+)&+&!.#C;!0=42!%!64H3#=#23#2+!.#C%+)42&,)=!)2!?%C)3%+)2$!+,#).
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Y)&+7&!?)3#4&!#T)&+!D#+8##2!24+)42&!4<!#T,)D)+)42)&+!D#,%?)40.!%23!+,#!?4;#0.)&:!4<!%2!%03)#26#!)2!+,#
%6+!4<!&C48)2$!3482!4.!&=##3)2$!0=!%2!#T=.#&&)?#!&#T0%CC;!6,%.$#3!=.4E#6+)42!2#0+.%C)&#3!D;!+,#!?#.;
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%.+!<4.:!4<!+,)&!:4:#2+@!!!!5+!)&!,48#?#.!):=4.+%2+!%&!%!:%.9#.V!=,)C4&4=,)6%C!)2+.4306+)42!4.!6402+#.
60C+0.%C!=4)2+!4<!?)#8!8,#.#!,0:%2!6426#.2&!%23!3##=C;!<#C+!#:4+)42&!4.!3)&H#%&#!%.#!:%3#!:%2)<#&+
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M%C?%34.!"%C)!%&!A>,#!B.#%+!(%&+0.D%+4.7@!!>,#!%.+)&+!)2,%D)+&!%!6C4&#3!&=%6#!8,#.#!)+!)&!026C#%.!+4!+,#
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.#64$2)G%DC#!+4!+,#!=4)2+!8,#.#!)+!D#64:#&!%&!)..)+%+)2$!%&!+,#!F).&+!<#8!D%.&!4<!%!D%.#C;!.#:#:D#.#3
=4=0C%.!&42$@!!>,#!=#.<4.:#.!)&!)2!%!&+%+#!4<!,#)$,+#2#3!#T=.#&&)42!%23!!02)2,)D)+#3!D;!,#.!#T=4&0.#@!
[#!%&!?)#8#.&!%.#!%8%.#!+,%+!+,#!=#.<4.:#.!,%&!,#.!D.#%&+&!#T=4&#3!8,)6,!)2!)+&#C<!D#64:#&!%2
)2+.)$0#!%&!+4!8,;@!!I.+)&+)6!=.%6+)6#!%&!&#C<!#T=.#&&)42!8)+,)2!%!84.C3!+,%+!2#)+,#.!6%.#&!4.!,%&!6426#.2
4.!8,#.#!%!<#:%C#!F)$0.#!,%&!+,#!<.##34:!+4!#T=.#&&!+,#:&#C?#&!4DC)?)40&!+4!%2;!E03$#:#2+!<.4:
4+,#.&@!!B)CC)%2![#%.)2$7&!?)3#4!84.9!A"%26)2$!52!\#69,%:7!+%9#&!Y)&+7&!6426#=+!<0.+,#.!D;!&)+0%+)2$
,#.!84.9!)2!+,#!AC)?#7!642+#T+!4<!%!=#.<4.:%26#!)2!%!&,4==)2$!:%CC@!
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(2&2#3"'U**VJ43+,'-5277'W1+2$"+&:'>PXX@B
[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-
WyRmH3QWiAY/UUVQi5sQm2I/AAAAAAAAA5w/0JlTpU_kKlY/s1600/Natalie+Bookchin_Mass+Ornament.jpg]
Bookchin’s YOUTUBE videos harvest materials uploaded to the video sharing network from a series of themes.
Medications, being laid off work, travel / road videos and bedroom dancing. The intimacy of the confessional
YOUTUBE video is presented en masse, as a collection or collage of contemporary phenomena.
The work evolves from the setting up of a camera, checking the framing and rehearsals prior to the collective
dancers’ exhibition of their passionate physical expressions of celebration. The multiple screens employed include
the data of how many views each respective dance has had on the website, effectively ‘rating’ each dancer’s video.
The presentation links styles, gender and image to an aesthetic structure seemingly unifying these disparate
dancers. As viewers we are voyeurs, spying on this most private act undertaken by many people through time and
before the globally connected camera’s lens; where previously it would have been performed in front of a mirror.
Bookchin’s video montage throughs up several key aspects for consideration. The self-interest of monitoring a
performance and being able to use the camera technology to self edit or ‘check’ personal ability or limitations. That
these private shows have become public emphasizes a need for validation through how many people are prepared
to sit and watch each singular dance, where their effective rankings are displayed at the bottom of each frame. A
‘private show’ or expression is uploaded to a public domain and freely available for anyone to consume in any way
they may desire. The viewers’ role is passive yet powerful where the selection of such material to consume relates
to body type, choice of music or styling. The expressions range from naive celebration and fandom through to
erotic sexually charged or physical presence. A global movement of rhythm confronts us where we are effectively
challenged to judge or join in while being entertained in the same vein as reality TV.
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E+6D'9214*#'8'02%#'5*1137"D,'-Y4"#7"2'K31#7:'>&)3+'7J1""+'Q1*Z"J[*+\']#$B'?@LL
[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-
oYMiUsaZooQ/UUVRNyT0XDI/AAAAAAAAA54/Acf-cWYcvmI/s1600/CG64big.tiff]
[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-49rzgR6a_5s/UUVRWeTjCMI/AAAAAAAAA6A/7dITQPzd3Uo/s1600/CG16.tiff]
Andy Warhol’s films from the 1960’s developed ‘art film’ in simple yet complex ways. While the subject matter and
content were barely orchestrated in terms of elaborate sets, outstanding dialogue or acting they are direct
precursors of much video and photographic work since their realization. Conceptually and visually they work as
compositional explorations of the human presence and our own often dislocated sense of perception as our minds
and eyes wander across or zoom in on a particular aspect momentarily before returning to some ‘generalized’
middle point of focus and then moving off again as we pan, zoom, track or focus within any given situation we
encounter.
Warhol’s army of wannabe stars who surrounded him at his New York studio ‘The Factory’ offered him fresh young
cinematically interesting subject matter who looked aesthetically pleasing on film. They are now immortally ‘forever
young’ in their frozen celluloid time slice of art history, yet continue to signal a youthful presence, central to much
commercial film practice, where ‘the cult of youth’ is perpetuated across all contemporary media to this day.
While Warhol’s stars maybe glamorous trans-sexuals, drug addicts, minor actors, fashion models or artists they
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directly reference the demimonde of Toulouse Lautrec and Manet’s cosmopolitan Parisian world of the nineteenth
century. They are self-obsessed, vacuous and bored, yet celebrate their ultimate achievement of timeless fame
through their presence within a film; something we are all encouraged to achieve within contemporary societies as
being a significant symbol of success. In this sense while Warhol’s models follow the tradition of the English Pre-
Raphaelites and French Impressionists who employed young women from the streets as their models; updating the
image by extending the singular frame of perfection to include their preening, empty conversation and fickleness.
The banality of content and absence of overt storytelling situates Warhol’s work more readily within realism and non-
narrative than the Pop Art culture he is more closely associated with. Warhol’s intimate celebrations, interviews,
interrogations in film may have set the scene for Vito Acconci’s 1970’s video confessionals however Warhol’s films
have an expanded vision, beyond a singular view of critically examined narcissism.
The double screen work ‘Chelsea Girls’ juxtaposes differing scenes from within the Chelsea Hotel where the
residents go about their lives. The camera is statically mounted yet roams each setting at seemingly random times
until it rests upon a close up of a partial piece of clothing, flesh, facial features, furniture or light. As viewers’ intimate
scenes confront us, where we would expect something to happen. Yet as in real life we encounter many unresolved
meetings, experiences, parties where we may simply accept ‘randomness’ or banality as a defining aspect; where
we may seek meaning or some narrative structure. The grand narratives are dismissed or have passed. The death
of the author heralded and facilitated the possibility to celebrate nothing other than the moment. In Warhol’s films
that moment is extended from beyond the single frame. Warhol’s use of the Polaroid in his artworks and portraits
became an accelerated supercharged ephemeral presence as he developed a body of films of almost clinical
objectivity. The frozen Polaroids become moving images across an intimate smaller silver screen suited to the
16mm film projections many well to do 1960’s families indulged in making their own ‘home movies’.
[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-
cHwsOFyamOc/UUVR28X6UiI/AAAAAAAAA6I/ldLnl65Oris/s1600/meet-the-swinger.jpg]
Warhol accessed new technologies revolutionising how we both present and seek to be represented. The Polaroid
camera offered the privilege for photographs to be made, printed instantaneously and consumed privately without
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the need to submit a roll of film to a third and potentially judgemental or moralistic party for development and
printing and included a model called ‘the Swinger’.
[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9c-
6IzAD9Aw/Uj8ZumudgYI/AAAAAAAABP4/Ga3TPfuRYew/s1600/dyt_warhol.jpg]
Andy Warhol Polaroids, examples
Deborah Harry (Blondie), Alfred Hitchcock, Sylvester Stallone, A piglet.
Andy Warhol Polaroids (uncredited) [http://designyoutrust.com/photography/andy-warhol-polaroids/]
Super 8 and 16mm film cameras offered significant opportunities for wealthy people to create their own personal
cinematic archives. Warhol subverts this privileged desire for immortality, or ‘fifteen minutes of stardom’ as he was
quoted as stating everyone has in their lifetime, by promoting characters who would not necessarily have achieved
celluloid immortality had it not been for his presence.
[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8PFvouX7_RU/UUVSuuQ-
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1gI/AAAAAAAAA6Q/xFwIcmq9Cm4/s1600/tumblr_lvr1fyFw1p1r1f6ito1_12801-300x204.jpg]
[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-
crNJFDNa58Y/UWrIFKvo86I/AAAAAAAAA9I/TCxrIeuH-Gg/s1600/CC3.tiff]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHmvkRoEowc
Chris Crocker’s confessional YOUTUBE rants where he shits down any sense of a locational background by way of
creating an intimate closed space between the viewer and his content creates a voyeuristic experience through the
intimacy he creates with a series of fan based, expressive rants over mediated treatment of US singer Britney
Spears. Crocker uses the intimacy of a bedroom confessional as a device to rail against that which he perceives as
being unjust, the treatment of a superstar he ‘rates’.
Crocker’s series of YOUTUBE videos went viral making him a global celebrity through his tirades against unnamed
journalists or the media in general. Whether Crocker’s views are as commonplace as may be perceived from his
over the top tirades is uncertain, however his comments in support of the singer catapulted him to celebrity status in
his own right where he became one of YOUTUBE’s own stars. In this sense while the videos Crocker produced
were supposedly intimate and personal statements they became global expressions of self-promotion from the
bedroom (whether they were created in a bedroom or not). Chris Crocker’s videos changed the notion of a
confessional work, exemplified elsewhere on YOUTUBE by Natalie Bookchin’s harvesting of online confessionals
such as ‘My Meds’. Crocker manipulates his own expressive and supposedly unselfconscious statements in
support of his favourite star to promote his self. The work, or video, is supposedly a statement made as a fan is a
vehicle for self-serving promotion.
Crocker creates an uneasy space, similar to that established by Vito Acconci. Where in the 1970’s Acconci was
Y4137'Y1*JV"1,'-I"2C"'U13&+"D'E#*+":'>PXXOB
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suggestive, quiet and potentially venting a deeply felt repressive guilt of desired experience or fantasy; Crocker’s
expression is by comparison hysterical. While Acconci intimates that he is being manipulated by an unseen female
presence beneath the table he is seated at Crocker defends an unseen but globally acknowledged star. Acconci
conjures a presence using his powers of persuasion in the ways he perceived televisual media to have in affecting its
viewers in the 1970’s. In Chris Crocker’s time intimacy and expression are combined where he expresses a
fundamental and unfailing belief in the sanctity and privilege of a superstars’ projected image over their perceived
and publicly documented transgressions. Whether Crocker had no audience or a global following he pushed a
genre to the extreme whether initially consciously or not and whether it could be classified as art or simple
entertainment, although Crocker’s work may be an early example of art in this guise.
[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--
UOFZl69JgA/UWrJwu6GYGI/AAAAAAAAA9Q/d_H6GMi_N0U/s1600/SK4.tiff]
Steve Kardynal’s OMEGLE based presentations use web cams to record those ‘users’ on OMEGLE who witness his
cross dressing performances of Katy Perry (and others) music as a soundtrack for his multiple exposure of self and
others within an adult based online and predominantly sexual contact network.
Kardynal’s obvious maleness, with beard and moustache, combined with skimpy bra and panties creates an
immediately humorous yet disturbing image counterpointed by his ‘audience’s’ reactions. An immediate and
obvious link in terms of taste and aesthetics is Aphex Twin's 1999 video of his single 'Windowlicker' where Richard
James (Aphex Twin) is portrayed as an overtly bristly and well endowed female in multiple roles throughout Chris
Cunningham's video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MBaEEODzU0] . Windowlicker's content does not relate to
the notion of Voyeurism being addressed here, Steve Kardynall's witty and significant online play develops the
image previously and so shockingly introduced by James & Cunningham's video; but moves the notion of 'Dude
Bitch' to another dimension. The image below is a still from the Aphex Twin 'Windowlicker' video.
.&"C"'^216D+2#,'-0"2J*JV_'^2&D'0"11D:'>PX??B
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[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6Q56E3b7NKw/UbXZwIUX6SI/AAAAAAAAA_w/KRqU9ybUhiw/s1600/Aphex_Twin_-
_Windowlicker-inside.jpg]
http://www.mrgonaka.co.uk/archive/essay/designers%20republic.html
Other links between the works are less able to be discussed, relying more upon individual reaction. Again Kardynall
plays this deftly in his OMEGLE based video. The lone males who may not have been expecting such a presence
as Kardynal to be projected into their bedrooms, as they recline ensconced and expectant of some more
preconceived notion of a sexual encounter, is a voyeurist’s dream. We as viewers of Kardynal’s YOUTUBE mix of
the OMEGLE material see both him and those who rotate through his OMEGLE account as he performs to a Katy
Perry song, whose lyrics are further emphasized by Kardynal’s exotic headpiece. As viewers we complete a triangle
within the work. Kardynal has clearly intended to realize a specific outcome in situating a performance within an
online sex site. His performance challenges stereotypical or preconceived notions of what such an online portal as
OMEGLE may be through his overt and humorous presence as he interacts and engages with those he encounters.
I66426)7&!$).C!D#2#%+,!+,#!+%DC#!,%&!D##2!&0=#.&#3#3!D;!+#6,24C4$;!%23!$#2#.%+)42%C!6,%2$#&!+48%.3&
&#T0%C)+;@!!e%.3;2%C7&!=.#+#26#!)&!6406,#3!8)+,)2!%2;!3#+#.:)2)2$!023#.&+%23)2$!%&!+4!8,#+,#.!,#!)&
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9/10/2016, 1:34 PMContact, 'Voyeurism in Art'
Page 24 of 25http://jeremy-blank.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/contact_15.html
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Posted 15th February 2013 by Jeremy Blank
9/10/2016, 1:34 PMContact, 'Voyeurism in Art'
Page 25 of 25http://jeremy-blank.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/contact_15.html
Location: 7 Boston Quays, Mindarie WA 6030, Australia
Labels: confessional art, contextual studies in art, Edgar Degas, helmut newton, manet, media art history, omegle
art, rembrandt, velasquez, vito acconci, voyeurism in art, voyeuristic art, youtube art
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