Bruce Nauman’s video works instill fierce techno-envy. Using a stationary camera with simple framing and large hi-def projections/screens, repetitive and ordinary gestures acquire monumental importance as Nauman oscillates between tension and equilibrium. In Anthro/Socio (1991), Nauman creates a word/sound cacophony resembling a Gregorian monk chant. Performer Rinde Eckert performs/sings the words “Feed Me, Eat Me, Help Me, Hurt Me.” The viewer/listener initially lulled by the rhythmic sound, is jolted to attention, once the words and implicit meanings become clear. Untitled (1970/2009) features two female dancers twirling clockwise, generating radial, kinetic movement. I’m tempted to call Nauman out on voyeurism/objectification, until I learn that he was intentionally absent during the filming. Off the hook for that accusation, but my techno-envy remains intact.
~ Colette Copeland
images by the author