Audience as Subject

Audience as Subject
Library Shelf Location 06.AUDI
Publication Date 2012
Description Audience as Subject is a two-part exhibition that considers the audience broadly as a living organism of participating viewers of live events. The object of the investigation is the dramatic and narrative potential of audience members — their physical bodies, expressions, attitudes, gestures and actions — this unique social body made up of individuals. The exhibition considers the behaviors of audiences at formal venues such as theaters, outdoor concerts and sports events, as well as other locales in the public sphere where people gather to experience a specific and individuated experience. The exhibition is inspired by art works where artists take into account the shift from a gazing audience to a producing audience, as an example of larger changes in perceptions about participation in civic life. The corporeal audience becomes the artists’ object of desire, and their presence is the energetic drive or conversely, entropic force of group dynamics. States of enthusiasm or attentiveness create opportunities for representing feeling states with unique aesthetics that incorporate various ethical positions. What types of identities are produced by the constitution of differently sized audiences — small, medium, large, extra large? How is individuality negotiated when one is part of an audience? What is revealed in works of art that represent audiences often with little or no access to the object of attention? Where the object of attention is minimized? What kinds of politics are revealed through acknowledging the value of these congregations? This exhibition seeks to break from the modernist notion of the audience that has been discussed in terms of spectatorship, whether Guy Debord’s notion of the spectator and the mediated spectacle or Jacques Ranciere’s more recent writings on the spectator, which poses doubt around the relationship between looking and knowing. This exhibition is about spectator as performer, as experiencer, as completer of that which is being presented, whether it be a theatrical performance or a political rally. The shift from the watching spectator to the being and doing audience member is consistent with the larger societal shifts in representing those who are in attendance. There have always been examples of performing audiences that are not ones that only see, an obsession of modernism and a supposed marker for the civilized way to participate in the social life of watching live events or behaving in the museum. The silent and seeing person with a focus on the retinal reception of visual cues, mindfully contemplative and searching for meaning represents one set of values. Audiences at rock concerts, for example, produce another one. Primitivist terminology often assigned to the excessively performing audiences of Woodstock or Monterrey can be compared with the respectful yet casual image of the audiences for the music of John Cage.
ISBN 9780982678954
Quantity 1
Pages 120
Authors Catherine Wood, Betti-Sue Hertz, Andrew Stefan Weiner, Gabriella Giannachi, Nick Kaye
Format Paperback
Publisher Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Related Artists Andreas Gursky, Paul Pfeiffer, Stephen Dean, Melanie Smith, Andrea Bowers, Wang Qingsong, Elaine Constantine, Rabih Mroue, Ryan McGinley, Jeremy Deller and Nicholas Abrahams, Alexey Kallima, Gonzalo Lebrija
Category Art by Subject
Keywords Crowds, Audiences
Language English

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