Portraits of the Artist and of His Family on Easter

I am presenting today two variations of the same project, which is the exchange of “live portraits” between myself and my family over our respective Easter dinners.


First Version:


The first version of the project is the one I envisioned from its outset: A combination of four videos to make almost a “straight documentation” of the piece. For most of the time I was working on this project, I thought of it as a performance, and so video documentation with little intervention in terms of editing felt appropriate in light of the performance pieces with which I was familiar (like the earliest performances from the ‘60s). I am thinking about transforming these four videos, which I am presenting here in a single clip for the web, into a four-channel installation, with the audio volume reduced to a low ambiance.


I make that final decision regarding the audio because upon listening to the video of my family’s dinner, I found that the conversation circled back and back to the subject of my art piece, and it is impossible to include the audio without this self-reference which I find distracting to the read of my piece in the above variation as something more along the lines of “straight documentation” of a performance.


But I do think that a look at the layers of organization behind this performance is, in a separate way, fairly interesting and resonates with the idea that construction and forgery work behind the family portrait. For this reason, I wanted to include for your consideration the second variation of my project, which involves my greater liberty in editing and my inclusion of footage of the before and after of the performance to point towards this construction.


Second Version:


I know that this second variation has some flaws: There is not a particularly good balance between the two pairs of videos; the piece is slow to start; and to make its pace and imbalance a little more bearable, I cut a good deal of the footage from the first variation which I feel addresses less the “constructed” nature of the performance. I know these cuts are a bit jarring. I know the audio could use subtitles. What I am interested in learning right now from this second variation is if the “making of” aspect of this project is more compelling than the poignancy of the performance itself.


I am glad that this work can easily be iterated. The most effortful part of it is coordinating my availability with my brother, who did all of the camera work at my home, and my family. I think that this idea will benefit from iteration.

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