Reviewed by: AAA Executive Program Committee
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: The Political
Secondary Theme: Technology
Failure is Human. Human is Failure. is an archival-based audiovisual creative project I started developing in the Fall of 2017, in collaboration with filmmaker Luiza Parvu. It consists of a video installation titled Redemption Room and a collection of short clips titled "Gestures". Our research looks critically at the anthropology of failure, staged for the "public" space of broadcast television.
These rituals enacted using performance, or decorum tropes - such as the tone of voice, the gaze; mythological tropes including references to the the nation state, dominant religion and democracy; and tropes of staging - the costume, the Presidential Hall, the podium, the zoom-in / zoom-out between the medium close shot and the protagonist's close-up. Power principles, redemptive memory and the methods of performing arts are enacted to close a communication circle around a vulnerable subject.
The theoretical roots of this project, coming from Juliane Rebentisch' "The Art of Freedom: On the Dialectics of Democratic Existence", ramify to include Plato's Socratic Dialogues to Laura Mulvey's visual pleasure, Walter Benjamin's aura, Roland Barthes' punktum, Nietzsche's will to power and Alexander Galloway's interface.
Breaking the fourth wall, in a connected talk/essay, we might be considering what may be learned from looking at failure creatively? What are the pitfalls of working with archival material, in anthropology and visual art? What are some difficulties that we need to overcome in order to get behind the smokescreen of broadcast language; and, in our methods, behind the concepts and notions that inform our initial research?