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February 23, 2012

In sdlacregirl, (2009) artist Miljohn Ruperto edited a youtube video of a freestyle performance by Trinere. The piece, titled after the user’s screen name, is a meticulously inconspicuous edit of the original youtube footage. The artist muted the video and emptied it from the stage lighting and other accessories, leaving only the figure of the singer performing. Trinerel, glowing under the spot lights, turns into a candle flame flickering against a black backdrop moving in sporadic and unpredictable movements. The movements are however not the movements of the performer on the stage, but the movements of the videographer, holding the camera, dancing. The video is of a camera dancing to the beats of the performance, free from the demands of the subject, propelled not by the logics of the event that its documenting, but rather by the movements of its operator. The dancer and the camera become a single entity, driven by the music. The visual subject/objects relations are inverted in the work, instead of Trinere being the subject of the camera’s operation, it is the camera that is the subject of the event. Here a new space is being formed and defined, one that is not defined by location, but by the movements. The camera creates a new architecture of the event and defines the special relationships according to its movements, separate from the direction of the lens.

sdlacregirl, Miljohn Ruperto, 2009

In a number of his photo activities Vito Acconci experimented with the special configurations produced by the camera. In Throw (1969) Accounci takes photographs while “going through the motions of throwing a ball.“ Each photograph is accompanied by a text, describing the motion and the instance in the motion that the picture was taken. “REACH BACK- GET READY TO THROW-CLICK”, “COME FORWARD-THROW-FOLLOW THROUGH-CLICK.” Similar to sdlacregirl it is the body/camera entity the defines the architectural space in Soho where the photographs are taken. While Throw seizes an architectural caesura, sdlacregirl is an architectural interval.

Vito Acconci, Throw, 1969

In the recent waves of uprisings world-wide, the internet is inundated with videos taken by demonstrators while the events are taking place. Many of which are taken as the protestors are confronting the securing forces or the police, marching down major streets and intersections, gathering in central squares and landmarks, or running for their lives down the alleyways. The videos document the events as the image-makers are engaged in the demonstrations, and they are simultaneously documenting and participating in the events. The videos are instantly distributed online feeding into the live coverage of the events on the internet. Through the footage provided by the protestors and activists, the cityscape is defined and formed through the camera. The camera thus produces a different urban experience, one can travel through the city online together with the crowds of people flooding the streets and alleyways. Similar to sdlacregirl the camera becomes the subject of the event. In sdlacregirl and Throw these spatial arrangements, performed by the camera are explored. It is not the space that defines the movements of the camera, but vice versa, it is the camera that defines the movements of the [architectural] space.

Protester running for his life on bicycle in Syria, youtube still image

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