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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerformance
Bouncing in the Corner #1 (Nauman, Bruce), 1968Slow Angle Walk (Nauman, Bruce), 1969Sleep (Warhol, Andy), 1963
Identifications (Schum, Gerry), 1970

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concerned with the anonymity of the performer even in his early films and videotapes such as «Bouncing in the Corner» or «Slow Angle Walk» (1968) His video performances lasted the length of the tape— either thirty or sixty minutes. They were Minimalist and Conceptual anti-events that Andy Warhol had tried out in his own way as cinematic real-time concepts, for instance in «Sleep» (1964): The event was precisely that nothing happened. Declared as a media event, the unspectacular everyday, trivial act was placed up against the «society of the spectacle.» In this way, a distance between performer and viewer was reflected in ruptured form, but not eliminated—and that was the point. The distance that remained offered the «viewer» the possibility of experiencing something personally. The general concept of the happening—«something happens»—was thus surreptitiously transformed into a psychologizing «something happens with me.» Neither Nauman nor Acconci was interested in video as a mass medium, but instead in precisely the private, intimate quality of the medium and in the irritation that a deliberate limitation of freedom to act


can rouse in viewers and visitors. In this case, however, intimacy and psychology were not criteria associated with introspection. On the contrary, other artists took up an artificial and theatrical posing that complementarily reflected Warhol or Nauman's opposition to a return to naturalness and subjectivity. Gilbert & George's «living sculptures,» as presented in their tableau for Gerry Schum's television broadcast «Identifications,» (1970) set the «artificial, rigid, remote and single» against the «fluid, interactive and plural.»[45] Insistence on the artistic aspect of hermetic signs of bodily presence, on the one hand, and the theatrical pose adapting traditional motifs for performative sculptures and tableaux vivants—these opposites encompassed a central aspect of time-based media art.[46] Between the two poles, the scope of the problem was roughly outlined, but there was no desire to furnish an analysis of its social and political vectors. By the late 1960s, however, more and more artists were becoming interested in delivering such an analysis.

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