Running men: The precarious, paranoid body in screen culture

McKewen, Daniel (2015) Running men: The precarious, paranoid body in screen culture. In Image | Space | Body AAANZ Conference, 24-25 November 2015, Brisbane, Qld. (Unpublished)


This paper discusses my video installation Running Men as an example of how an artist’s appropriative engagements with screen images of the perilous body can reflect the technological zeitgeist of the last hundred years but also create a space of meditative and mediated reflection in Slavoj Žižek’s “endlessness” of the present-future. In this artwork, iconic male characters from Hollywood films are recontextualised to create infinitely looping scenes of running; trapping the characters in a kind of Nietchzen eternal recurrence that suspends them between impending violence and uncertain futures. Stemming primarily from my investigation into anxiety as a shared social experience, one perhaps primed by the increasing intensity of visual culture in the 21st century, these digitally reconfigured bodies become avatars or surrogates for myself, and for the viewer. Through selective editing, these emblematic figures are caught in a space of relentless confusion and paranoia – they run with, and from anxiety. They are never caught by any unseen pursuers, but are equally unable to catch up to any unseen goal. These figures map an historical trajectory of violence and masculinity as it has been projected through various iterations of screen culture Simultaneously, as celebrities, they are also fictions of the media sphere, both real and ethereal, they are impossible to grasp but paradoxically are objects of identification and emulation. In this duality, the work also references cinema’s tangled conflation of character and celebrity identity. This discussion will address the two distinct but connected sites and activities of body/image engagement. Firstly, the artistic process and conceptual ramifications of this activity, and secondly in the artwork’s potential as an installation to provide an opportunity for the viewer (like the artist) to reflect on the constructed-ness and complicated power structures at play in the representation of a gendered body.

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ID Code: 94158
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Contemporary Art, Video Art, Practice-led research, Popular Culture, Screen Culture, Hollywood
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > VISUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS (190500)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Daniel McKewen
Deposited On: 05 Apr 2016 23:02
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2016 05:09

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