Once more with feeling: Performing the self in the work of Gillian Wearing, Kutluğ Ataman and Phil Collins | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2045-6298
  • E-ISSN: 2045-6301


This article argues for the recognition of a new trajectory of performance-on-video, using work by Gillian Wearing, Kutluğ Ataman and Phil Collins. In this trajectory the artist has disappeared behind the camera to be replaced by real, ordinary, amateur people. Given the contemporary proliferation of recordings of ordinary people performing on reality television and on the Internet, this article asks what the act of artists recording ordinary people might now ‘mean’ to us, and, equally, how real people performing in video art might themselves ‘matter’. Through close analyses of Wearing’s Confess all … Ataman’s Women Who Wear Wigs and Collins’s the world won’t listen we find that a different kind of participatory space is gained on-screen in which artist, performer and eventual gallery visitor are drawn together through affective connections. Accordingly, the article concludes that in giving attention to this new trajectory of performance-on-video, what we ultimately discover are other ways of thinking about the act of recording that make faith in the subject possible once again.


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