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UAL Research Online

From Critique to Resistance to Autonomy: Alex Bag Meets Ann Hirsch

Walsh, Maria (2015) From Critique to Resistance to Autonomy: Alex Bag Meets Ann Hirsch. Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), 4 (1&2). pp. 13-41. ISSN 2045-6298

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Walsh, Maria

In this article, I explore the historical continuities and discontinuities between Alex Bag’s performances of femininity in her seminal video series Untitled Fall ’95 (1995) and Ann Hirsch’s Scandalishious (2008–2010), a series of webcam videos on YouTube in which she appears as a character called Caroline Benton. Rather than a simply using these works to compare and contrast decades of feminist-inspired art, my exploration is informed by my re-encountering of Bag’s work through the lens of Hirsch’s in the context of the ubiquity of self-confessional and performative video online. In bringing these artists’ works together, I consider the possibilities of resistance to dominant forms of mediatized femininity in neo-liberalism, especially in relation to these artists’ interventions in television. From 1994 to 1997 Bag, in collaboration with artist Patterson Beckwith, produced a cult series for cable TV called Cash from Chaos and later Unicorns and Rainbows, in which they enacted countercultural scenarios that ‘détourned’ mainstream culture. In Hirsch’s foray into reality TV in 2010, she inserted herself into a pre-existing production Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair. Using these two examples as exemplifying a shift in art critique from a strategy of seizing the means of production to a strategy of immersive mimicry, I ask whether femininity can be posed as a site of resistance or whether it is fully enmeshed within the neo-liberal production of subjectivity as aspirational and entrepreneurial?

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Film theory, cultural theory, feminist theory, subjectivity.
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Intellect
Your affiliations with UAL: Other Affiliations > CCW Graduate School
Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: December 2015
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1386/miraj.4.1-2.14_1
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2016 14:09
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2020 10:15
Item ID: 9794
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/9794

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