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Comment Vertigo

Images from Vertigo © Leland H. Faust, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, Kathleen O'Connell Fiala Trustees Alfred J. Hitchcock Trust


Pleasure Freedom Power

Exploring the evolution of spectatorship in the digital era, an interdisciplinary team of writers, artists and programmers have collaborated to produce artworks in which the audience actively participates. Visitors register their responses and continually re-make the content of the exhibits. Inspired by the work of Alfred Hitchcock, questions of power, freedom and desire are never far from the surface, emerging as metaphors for the relationships between audience, artist and medium.

The work poses important questions about transformations in visual culture and gender: Are the roles performed by men and women on screen typically active, passive or fluid? What happens to film when it moves from the big screen to such devices as mobile phones? And does the apparently accelerating re-use, control and modification of media by audiences actually add up to real power?

The exhibition is realised through an innovative cross-over between experimental art practice, popular screen media and the presentation conventions of education. Similarly the exhibition brings film language into collision with surveillance systems, video games, social software such as Wikis and blogs, and the commercial Internet of eBay and Google. A deliberate contrast is drawn between this blurring of boundaries and the polarised debates that have characterised the study of new media, gender and power in the past. By taking a more critical perspective, RePossessed aims to assess the extent to which different audiences and emerging technologies might intersect to offer new narrative freedoms.