Appropriation, Deconstruction, Recontextualisation

The use of video readymades opens up the possibility to deconstruct and recontextualise a pre-exisiting narrative, with this manipulation allows the footage to be divorced from its originally intended context, and often in doing this can behave as a comment on its own intended purposes. This is a process used by a number of video artists that I have found key to the development of my own ideas. I am interested in the significance of this process of recontextualisation, and how it provides an opportunity to alter the relationship between viewer and subject.

Dara Birnbaum – Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978-79)

Dara Birnbaum’s work explores the representation of women in  films and television, by manipulating digital footage, Birnbaum highlights and subverts the original intention of the television program or film. Birnbaums use of appropriation and recontextualistaion  highlights the ability of digital manipulation to disrupt how we relate to a piece of footage.

Mike Kelley – The Day is Done (2002)

“The artist chose to work with such a diverse set of images in order to force himself to create a longer, more complex, video work somewhat akin to traditional filmic narratives employing montage. Though not a traditional narrative, “Day is Done” employs recurring characters, intimations of simultaneous action, and some semblance of narrative flow.”

This piece is an incredibly exciting one to consider, he uses collected and appropriated imagery to weave together a video installation looking to explore and disrupt performed normative rituals existing within society. Watching the video of him working towards this piece, I am interested in the way that he relates each piece of found footage/imagery together – particularly within the work there is a real acknowledgement of the conversation that can occur between footage placed together. Otherwise unrelated videos can be placed alongside one another to alter, constructing new narratives as they recontextualise one another.  It is this sensitivity to the relationships between the individual components of the work that leads to a subtle cohesion in the otherwise overwhelming and disorientating presentation of such an abrupt display.






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