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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerformance
Live-Taped Video Corridor (Nauman, Bruce), 1970Viewer (Hill, Gary), 1996

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the body as a «sphere» and worked with isolating and anonymizing body concepts, with «mental and psychic activities.»[41] Nauman's performances in a studio without an audience now became a performative act in which the viewer was likewise isolated (as in «Live-Taped Video Corridor» 1970). This attitude, which isolates the first person in both the processes of production and reception, was in line with Nauman's later mistrust of any kind of audience participation.[42]

Despite his success with interactive installations, Gary Hill similarly rejects any notion of currying audience favor, instead insisting on the autonomy of the work of art: «There is always a sense of opaqueness in the way that the work is not calling out for an audience, or for that matter, not calling outside itself at all. Perhaps this is left over from my sculpture days, but the autonomy of the work itself is still something that I'm very aware of, at least in terms of keeping theatricality at bay.»[43] Watching, as in his «Viewer» installation of 1996, becomes a performative activity on the part of the viewer, while on the «other» side of the screen watching is all that the performer does.[44] In Gary Hill's work, and basically in


Bruce Nauman's, too, the body—whether one's own or somebody else's—is ultimately an unfathomable «sphere,» a sign of existence that cannot be permeated or scrutinized, let alone linked up to electronic media. These artists are concerned with a bodily presence in time, but it is a presence each viewer must feel for him or herself. Theater simply needs an audience.

Performativity and video

If that which remains is precisely what distinguishes art, as Jochen Gerz once suggested, then it was a logical step to artistically design the way processes are exhibited. The act of directing productions in the media, in a wider sense any «time-based art,» must also be seen as a performative act when it is reproduced, restaged or exhibited—something for which the videotape offered ideal conditions. Bruce Nauman's performances, produced alone in the studio with a video camera, were therefore first perceived as a performative act when viewed by visitors to an installation. In contrast to the event character of many public happenings and actions, Bruce Nauman was

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