05.10 “self-portrait”

SelfPortrait by VideoChannel –
a compilation of 19 videos curated by Agricola de Cologne
issued on occasion of the installation at “Groundworks” – 14 October – 11 December 2005 at Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburg/USA
and Biennale of Video & New Media Santiago/Chile 18-28 November 2005,
in 2006 the selfportrait videos became part of the media art show and were extended through more videos – see listed further ahead—>
://selfpotrtrait – a show for Bethlehem – a show for Peace
( )
and the collection is extended by some new videos on this occasion.

Enter this selection directly here

1. André Austvoll (Norway)
2. Clare Ultimo (USA)
3. Reuben James Preston (UK)
4. Vince Briffa (Malta)
5. Agricola de Cologne (Germany
6. Lee Welch (Ireland)
7. Giovanni Antignano (Italy)
8. Michael Szpakowski (UK)
9. Oliver Griem (South Korea)
10. Sinasi Gunes (Turkey)
11. Nita Mocanu (Romania)
12. Eileen Bonner (UK)
13. Jack Messenger & Chirstinn Whyte (UK)
14. Jen Ross (UK)
15. Cynthia Whelan (UK)
16. Donald Bousted (UK)
17. Andi Wallwhore (USA))
18. Svetlana (USA)
19. Christina McPhee  (USA)
20. Alice Arnold (USA)

more videos ://selfportrait – a show for Bethlehem

21. Carla Della Beffa (Italy)
22. Jeremy Blank (Australia)
23. June Pak (Canada)
24. Herve Constant (UK)
25. Johanna Reich (Germany)
26. Mireille Astore (Lebanon/Australia)
27. Nate Aldrich (USA)
28. Lina Persson (Sweden)
29. Miranda Mutanta (Australia)
30. Sonya Rademeyer (South Africa)
31. Ilka Goetz (Germany)
32. Irene Coremberg (Argentina)
33. Melanie Perrier (France)
34. Ane Lan (Norway)
35. Ina Loitzl (Austria)
36. Theresa Krause (Germany)
37. Unnur Andrea Einarsdottir (Iceland)
38. Jimmy Owenns (France)
39. Ursula Bachmann /Switzerland)
40. Richard Jochum (Austria)
41. Moon Na (S.Korea)
42. Sofia v. Bustorff

The artists and art works:

André Austvoll

artist biography

The Third Eye (3:11), 2004

“The Third Eye” is about a dancer’s train of thought when deciding to
move. Every movement is shaped by the one preceding it. Every decision
brings about an action that changes the point of view. The film combines
choreography and camera movement to create an moving self portrait.
There is a sense of a personal reflection in continuous flux between
rest and motion. The person is identified by a rhythm above anything
else. Instead of cutting between camera angles, the repositionings of
camera are always made by the body of the dancer. The dancer
continuously repositions the camera and creates an embodied structure of
space and personal choices.

Clare Ultimo (USA)

artist biography

Inner Dialogue (3:36) 2004

Inner Dialogue is an experiment in personal response, made public. This was done as an in-camera edit and the dialogue is a internal question and answer session, that mainly deals with the questions of accountability and belief systems.
I listened and responded visually on camera to a series of metaphysical styled questions that brought me to an uncomfortable realisation at the conclusion.

3. Ruben James Preston (UK)

artist biography
Remembering (4:40) (2005)

The piece addresses the issues of remembrance in the human consciousness, in particular how an inanimate material can be the vehicle for a very deep sense of remembrance, loss and change. In the work the simple item of a chair is raised to iconic level by the significance it holds in the character’s life. The chair is a symbol of much hope and aspiration as well as hard work toil and commitment. A commitment which came to an end as life needed to move forward. But the questions that hang in the air are where does the future lie when the leap of faith is made and where will new faith and hope be found when the traditional vessels have failed to supply the hopes, desires and security which were sought after. The chair as a piece of timber embodies something of these remembrances and points to the personal journey for meaning and purpose in the human quest. The piece presents us with the letting of in the ordained ministry in the search for creativity and self fulfilment.

4. Vince Briffa (Malta)

artist biography

I am my Photograph (3:40) 2004

I am my Photograph is a document of a series of daily still portraits taken over several months in 2004/5. These are then reworked as a continuous morph – a series of stills that are given a ‘digital life’ through current technology.  It is a work that questions changes in identity over time, it questions the me in the digital file and the real me. It questions immortality and asks – Does the me in the (digital) file have continuity with the me in everyday life? It also speaks of cloning (the biological equivalent of digitizing perhaps?). I am my Photograph is therefore a digital reincarnation of the self, a daily recreation/cloning of the self in digital form – a narcissistic artificial immortality.

5. Agricola de Cologne (Germany)

artist biography

Distortion Projected (3:50) 2004/2005

In 1998, Agricola de Cologne became a victim of a terror attack. The video is the attempt  to make the traumatic experiences perceivable via metaphoric images on an emotional level .
The artist’s voice performing one of his musical compositions uses sound instead of words in order  to  symbolize the speechlessness and inability of the people surrounding him to react properly.

6. Lee Welch (Ireland)

artist biography

Again & Again (1:00) 2003

In Lee Welch’s series of self-portraits, Again and Again, we encounter what appears to be a straightforward record taken with a digital camera of the artist’s face over a period of months. Through a rapid sequence of images, we find ourselves entranced by a face, most notably its changing hair, an affect of style that fluctuates between drastic and more subtle stages of cutting, dying, shaving, gelling. On one level it is a simple game, one of recognition and repetition, where we quickly learn to spot the difference. On another level, what manages to be fun is also a crisis in representation that leads to questions about identity, coherence and technology that are at the heart of Welch’s project. Here, digital photography in its rapid reiterations, employs a technology of cyber fantasies, genetic engineering and multiple identities that tells us nothing of the subject it represents. We are left with only a superficial awareness of a person, a self-portrait that collapses external changes with time.

7. Giovanni Antignano (Italy)

artist biography

Feeling Like Myself  (2:00) 2004

Just me…from inside…nothing else…

8. Michael Szpakowski (UK)

artist biography

Return in my native city (1:30) 2005

Made shortly after the death of my beloved father in Oct 2004. The figure is me. I revisit places, times and people in the city of my birth and upbringing.

9. Oliver Griem (South Korea)

artist biography

Self-portrait (4:50) 1999

10. Sinasi Gunes (Turkey)

artist biography

WELAT (2:12) 2004

This  video criticizes militarism.Identity of kurdish.

11. Nita Mocanu (Romania)

artist biography

Station (2:40) 2005

This video is an illustration of a letter received from my sister. She passes a hard time being a company director, the only woman in Arad (Romania) in the domain of transport business (and also extremely young, 26 years). She found a relieving escape by writing texts on the net.
The text expresses very well a more general situation of the women in Romania, the need for  self, usually women see themselves trough the eyes of others (men and mass media), when you find yourself outside of the given patterns you feel lost without meaning, and accused of being wrong. I have the feeling that for this moment many women find themselves trapped somewhere in a “station” outside the “real world of action”, making wrong decisions in the eyes of a general public and being judged trough a wide consensus.

12. Eileen Bonner (UK)

artist biography

Eye Myself (4:00) 2005

In my work, I challenge the assumptions of cultural ‘norms’, looking for the gaps and slippages where there is potential to take up a position in the interstices.
Those of us who are marginalised (here I include myself as a lesbian of Rom decent) have the opportunity to develop a ‘view from elsewhere’. 

13. Jack Messenger & Chirstinn Whyte (UK)

artist biography

Text Field (1:10) 2004
Created by translating a single continuous take of improvised movement into an ascii-based animation, with the soundtrack generated by a computer reading of the sequence’s final frame.

14. Jen Ross (UK)

artist biography

Fatal Distractions (3:20) 2005

This is a reflective film which uses traditional drawn self-portraiture as just one means of representation.  I wanted the look of the work to be that of a typical narrative short film combined with 2D imagery making it somewhere between filmic collage and animation.  The premise of the piece is the exploration of my own creative processes in both its possibilities and limitations.
I spend a day at home trying to draw a self portrait.  Through my attempts to create a true representation of myself on paper other more important pieces of information reveal themselves to the viewer.  This film is a portrait of my life not of my face. Through the framework of my actions, environment, habits and artistic processes a truer self-representation is given.
I want the viewer to form an idea of me through fragments of information.  You see pieces of my life: the music I listen to; the artists I reference; photos of family members dead before I was born, posters I choose to pin to my wall, aerial photos of journeys I have taken, the daydreams I have about flying.  Pieced together these fragments create an impression of my personality far truer than my drawn portraits.  It is the same with my face which you only see partially on camera.  The only full view of it you get is a drawn self portrait which is obviously tainted by own preconceptions, an image filtered by what I want to see in the mirror and then by what I want to show you.  Frustration, habit and distraction play an important role in describing my failed efforts which culminates in the final scene and the reflection of the camera in the inked glass.

15. Cynthia Whelan (UK)

artist biography

Selfportrait (3:30) 2004

The sense of claustrophobia and containment is held  whilst a woman puts her make up on and gets ready for her day.    The surprise is revealed as she leaves her own space.

16. Donald Bousted (UK)

artist biography

Autointrospective (2:20) 2005

An examination of self-inspired by the uncompromising self-portraiture of Vincent van Gogh.

17 & 18 . Svetlana & Andi Wallwhore (USA)

artist biography

Cannibal Hygiene (3:00) 2005
French Toast (5:00), 2005

Why are you doing this, which is almost like a classical pornsite, but is
really not at all like average porn-sites:
We are critical-satire, burlesque performers.  The sexual repression of our
current times and the abundance of online porn leave the libidinal in a
double bind.  Diverse fetish monomanias have become so common online that
most ‘taboo’ feels trite and predictable.  Svetlana and Andi Wallwhore pile
up Super-Abundant Fetish Icons while making up some new perversions of their
own.  OVARIUM is Embodied Post-Porn Politics.

19. Christina McPhee  (USA)

artist biography

SilkyVRML422 (4:22) 2005

The at-depth sound recordings of the first 4 minutes 22 second of a  recent California
earthquake are paired with  video shot of me  talking and drawing at a nearby site in late
2004. I am interested in  the loss of speech: the mouth cries, speaks, gestures, but the
woman  is silent.  My image appears and then melts into arrays of  visualizations, that
describe the geomorphology of the quake. ‘Silky’  means to me the sense that the
visualizations become like a second  skin.  Losing the self inside the tectonic event. 
The event itself  become a narrative only as experienced through the medium of the 
portrait.  The sonic field occasions a way to equate shock and the  memory of shock as
waves of negative energy.  A sense of place  apparently generates out of visualizations
rather than direct  experience.   The aftershocks are a pulsation similar to the white  noise of migraine.  Finding self, losing place: losing self,  finding  place — an oscillation with a
crossover condition in the center of  the screen.
VRML visualizations of the Parkfield quake courtesy of Dr. Ramon  Arrowsmith,
Active Tectonics, Quantitative Structural Geology and Geomorphology  Reseearch Group,
Arizona State University
Audio files are created from the vertical component of velocity as  observed at a depth of
3465 feet, using a 15 kHz geophone. They  interpret the  first 4. 22 of the September 28,
2004 M 6.0 Parkfield  Earthquake observed inside Earthscope’s SAFOD (San Andreas Fault 
Observatory at Depth), at Parkfield, California. Courtesy of the U.  S. Geological Survey,
Menlo Park, and the California Integrated  Seismic Network (CISN), 2004-2005+

performance videography by Terry Hargrave
performance, video and audio by Christina McPhee

20. Alice Arnold (USA)

artist biography

Becoming an Image (3:40) 2004

“Becoming an Image” is an investigation into Roland Barthes’ theories about posing and being interpretated; about the connections between image and identity.

 “Becoming an Image” asks three people who have had their portrait taken, in a formal session with a 4×5 camera, if the photograph, the external image, represents their internal essence. Their responses are spoken over video footage of their portrait developing in the darkroom. The portrait sitters’ voices create a dialogue between themselves, the viewers and with Barthes himself, who is inserted into the video through quotations from Camera Lucida.

 The video footage translates the still images into a time-motion environment, so that the time context of becoming an image shifts from the single trip of a shutter to the extended frame of time that video encapsulates. This time stretching highlights the contradiction between representation and reality that Barthes writes about and that is intrinsically part of the photographic process itself.