Projecting symptoms

Lowry, Joanna (2011) Projecting symptoms In: Trodd, Tamara, ed. Screen Space: the projected image in contemporary art. Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, pp. 93-110. ISBN 9780719084638

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The essay explores the way in which contemporary video installations have plotted the relationship between the subject and the spectator and the implications that these developments have for the way in which we understand subjectivity as a cultural construction. I argue that through these practices the self that is projected onto these screens is seen as potentially hysterical self, fragile and troubled. We tend, when confronted with these works, to read the signs of the subject’s behaviour clinically – as though they were syptoms of a hidden trauma. One way of understanding this phenomenon is to plot its origins in the early relationship established between photography and the representation of mental illness in the nineteenth century. My argument is that the peculiar ambivalence between the clinical and the theatrical that was established in some of these images, linked as it was to ideas about the evidential power of the photographic image itself, established a powerful discursive space that is still being actively deployed in the gallery today. The works that I describe each deploy this discursive space in different ways, but all involve a specific negotiation of the relationship between the spectator and the subject through the way in which they are physically installed, and all of them in some sense contruct that relationship as diagnostic, with the subject exhibiting their symptoms to a clinical gaze.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Subjects: W000 Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
W000 Creative Arts and Design > W600 Photography and Film > W610 Moving Image Techniques
W000 Creative Arts and Design > W600 Photography and Film > W690 Cinematics and Photography not elsewhere classified
W000 Creative Arts and Design > W600 Photography and Film
W000 Creative Arts and Design
W000 Creative Arts and Design > W600 Photography and Film > W640 Photography
Faculties: Faculty of Arts
Depositing User: Faculty of Arts editor
Date Deposited: 16 May 2012 13:17
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2014 13:22

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