A Multimedia Performance
Dublin Live Art Festival
Kerrie O Sullivan
Klara Mc Donnell
Thans to John Kenny and Thomas Parkes for additional footage.
‘Victim’ was advertised as a screening of a new performance by artists Redmond &
Murphy. It was described online as an exploration into the phenomena of the constant
placement of women as victims in the horror film genre. The audience were seated
and a black and white non high definition video projection began to play images of
two females screaming and expressing distress directly to the camera. The voiceover
“We are terrified.
We are confronting the camera.
We are engaging with its lens.
We are screaming.
We are questioning
We are frightened
We are victim.
We are victim and we are….”
The video and voiceover were interrupted by static and simultaneously a performer
who was planted in the audience let out a loud high pitched scream. The performance
had began. In a pre-planned, choreographed and staggered order six other female
performers left the audience and began to perform in the middle of the space. Each
performer wore a set of headphones and listened to the same audio loop.
They interpreted and delivered the lines through the process of call and repeat. The
audio loop was created from samples of horror movies where the female is portrayed
as a victim. The projection continued to play these scenes for the duration of the
performance. The audio was looped four times and the performance lasted for twenty
The piece ‘Victim' aims to combine live performance and multimedia in order
to challenge the idea of performance to video and traditional performance art as
being ‘esoteric, pretentious and deliberately difficult’, as put by Gemma Tipton in
The Irish Times article ‘Putting on a show: what good is performance art?’, Saturday,
October 27, 2012.
The piece instead wants to employ a concept and process that leaves behind some
of the overused and vacant ideas that permeate the medium such as the self, meaning,
memory and loss. As artists we feel that the reason performance can feel difficult and
incomprehensible to an audience is because they are never fully included in what the piece
is trying to communicate. We wanted to communicate something live and immediate that can be
quickly understood and considered.
Therefore, the piece is developed with two considerations:
The piece was to be performed on halloween night by a group of female performers
so the decision was made to take the samples from violent scenes from horror films
where a female is victim.
The faux art video at the start is a mock of the kind of performance to video work
that causes the viewer ‘confusion and derision’ and can be ‘simply ignored’
(Gemma Tipton, ‘Putting on a show: what good is performance art?).
All decisions in the production of the video are deliberate, from its low quality to
self reflecting voiceover.
We chose to start with a faux screening and begin the performance as a 'surprise' to
subvert the audience members role as passive viewers. Instead they became active
participants in a live art piece.
The collaboration between Redmond/Murphy has used the process of call
and repeat for various performances. Samples are taken from other media and
compiled into a loop.
This process of call and repeat is used so the piece is fundamentally about appropriation,
interpretation and delivery and so makes ‘it possible to explore what goes on when art happens
in front of you’ (Gemma Tipton, ‘Putting on a show: what good is performance art?).
This looping sample gives a repeated experience, playing in “Victim’ into the
desensitivity we feel when faced with direct distress and violence as in such
horror films. The piece is intended to communicate different types of emotion to an
audience, ranging from amusement to boredom.