Concepts in Media Self-Portraiture


With the advent of newer modes of expression—video, the Internet, and performance art—the definitions and parameters of self-portraiture have departed dramatically from traditional forms. What is consistent, however, is that self-portraits remain a means of self-exploration and self-expression. Through video production and performance, this course examines the richness of modern and contemporary self-portraiture and its compelling relationship to the personal construction of identity. Self-portraits in film, installation, and performance art will be produced within contexts such as distortion, reflection, psychoanalysis, gender, persona, race, gesture, and style. Students will be encouraged to explore their own self-concepts and identities through autobiographical narratives, a look into the uncanny overlaps of virtual and lived realities, and the invention of persona. Through the process of media-making, we will explore individually and collectively the humorous, intellectual, sardonic, freakish, complex, shy, imaginative, spiritual, neurotic, and paranoid. Presentations, readings, and discussion cover the aesthetic theories, media technology, and histories that drive the production of contemporary self-portraiture. Artists under consideration will include Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Frieda Kahlo, Karen Finley, Shana Moulton, Marta dell’Angello, Keren Cytter, Joseph Beuys, and many others.