Biographies on-Line: Interaction Between Biographical and Imaginary in Video Essays

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Lyudmila A. NURSE, Oxford XXI, United Kingdom
Video essays could be described as a “new variety of qualitative methodology” (Shrum, Dugue and Brown 2005), and also as a “documentary turn” of critical art production (Biermann 2008, Charleworth 2009, 2015). My paper addresses on- and off-line biographical material and works of art by a Portuguese transnational artist who practices a genre of video-recorded essay by “video-portraying” individual lives of Portuguese emigrants in search of a new home, created both online and for online audiences. The boundary between media consumption and media production gradually disappears due to constant reflection upon the artist’s own biography through her artistic subjects which very often include members of her family or close cultural community. Biographical narratives comprise memories about places she visited, lived, and dreamed about. The artist consistently refers to particular reference objects: photographs, diaries, drawings, and soundtracks in order to recreate (activate) her memory “lanes”, her travel diaries, and her drawings as converted to work of art. I argue that when research materials involve auto-biographical video-essays we first engage with the imaginative material in which artist’s biography “acts” as means of artistic expression, and then secondly as a “documentary” source.  The methodological approach to the analysis of video-recorded essays is developed on basis on T. Scheff’s “part/whole morphology” (Scheff, 1997) and B. Roberts’ studies on interconnections between biographical, auto-biographical and imaginary, “the life and the text” (Roberts 2002).