net art, video, performance

Annie Abrahams

besides, – some reflections on the first three performances

Now online : Reflections on the three first performances besides,

Annie .pdf
Martina .pdf

More information : videos, scripts, chatlogs, notes on the website of Turbulence who commissioned these performances (with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts).

Why would two naked women (with white skin, Western) visible online be subversive/critical? There is the terrifying practice of using the web for the purpose of exposing oneself relentlessly, even ones naked body. And there is a whole industry exploiting these acts. There is the problem that one cannot get these images down from the net – once they circulate in its tentacles.
Usually we look into the face of someone but we don´t see the body of the person. It is covered with clothes. Especially in online-communication the interface usually frames the head, the face. In
Besides, dear body, there are two bare bodies without a face. It could also be two different bodies. It is not so much about the individuality of these two bodies or the (hi)stories that have sedimented in them. It is about reaching out to one another, to link to one another. It is about disrespecting limitations and boundaries (of the image, the body, the space etc.)
I consider
Besides, dear body, as an experiment and the result as a poetic moving image of holding on to each other in all our vulnerability (I think we succeeded in showing nudity as a fragile costume) – no matter what the physical distance is. Indeed, via virtual/online-communication we are able to create linkages, to induce closeness, the feeling of being interwoven with other people´s threads, thoughts…During the online-communication one is „sharing distance“ with someone or some persons and it can be a very intimate experience.
At the same time online-communication emphasizes solitude. At the latest when one closes the interface, or one shuts down the computer one is alone. There is no way of going out to the foyer or to the bar and seeing the persons that were part of the event, watching the performance. There is not even certainty about the fact that there was anyone watching.

Extract from Martina’s reflections.

ThisPerson
SomeThing
dearBody

I know I would never have done a performance on aging (besides, Dear Body,), showing myself naked if I hadn’t been confronted to my own possible ending. It felt soothing to connect my nude body to the image of Martina’s much younger body. It felt as if we created a continuum in difference and made a statement that said „don’t worry, this is life“. I wanted it to be a gift.
Afterwards there was a big shock when I looked at the recording of the performance, when I looked at my naked body. I see this body every day in a mirror, but the video image is not the same as a mirror image – there was no head, no action going on, just the body to look at. It took time to overcome my personal aversion to my own aging body, to accept the breathing image, to accept its reality, to let the video live as an independant object showing aging, a tender connexion, and a crack.
Extract from Annie’s reflections.

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