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[Xmca-l] Re: Destructive "Creativity" and "Creative Destruction"



Hi Henry,

I was hasty in my explanation to depict Laura Poitras as a performance artist, but I forgot to say that she has had to remove herself from the space here so she could make the art there (Berlin). She has been stopped dozens of times at the border and treated badly for no good reason I can see; she may have to call herself a journalist to be pragmatic, but I consider her an artist who makes films. This is why I feel safe to call her a performance artist because the act of doing the film has become more important than the product of the film itself, in that sense. The film becomes more of a document of the act, much like the photograph of Beuys with the hare, and the filming of "How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare."

She has had to transport her body over boundaries to get to the spaces where she can do the work. There is a physicality and weight to the work because I happened to know the context in which the movie was possible, which I learned from reading her articles in Der Spiegel and in NYT or watching interviews of her at Democracy Now. 

Granted, all artists use their bodies, but there is something similar in Poitras's work to other performance art works I mentioned earlier than to a typical documentary film, a kind of visceral courage, which has nothing to do with sensationalism of performance we typically see with the likes of Lady Gaga, for example, who only cares about selling records.

I don't think Poitras was attempting to win an oscar. The film is not a Hollywood commodity. I was shocked that after winning the award, the film left town the next day. We had to drive an hour to see it. Usually films stick around because of the prestige of winning an oscar. So it's really not a commodity in more ways than one!

I'm not sure about the other people you propose, Henry. I don't know if all artists are performers, but they do have to perform in their medium, that is certain. I feel circumspect about attributing an artist temperament to what I'm calling performance art. I think would be a mistake. 

I would called Judy Chicago an installation artist or conceptual artist rather than a performance artist. I like her work very much!

Kind regards,

Annalisa