Photo: Casey Orr
Part of Connotations - Performance Images (1994-1998),1998
The photographs in the series Connotations - Performance Images are constructed images intended to explore the role of documentation in performance. The photographs in the series were staged and performed by myself with most of the images being taken by the photographer Casey Orr over a week in the summer of 1998. The dates, locations, photographers and contexts for the performances cited in the text panels are fictional. In all instances the action had to be performed for the photograph but did not take place within the circumstances or places outlined in the supporting text.
As a form, performance is often mediated through the documentary image, video, film, text or by word of mouth and rumour. With so few existing networks for the distribution of performances works, it is the image and its supporting text that is given precedence in publications on the subject, creating a handful of historical performances that have become notorious through their own documentation, leaving others behind that have not made the translation into the single image.
Connotations - Performance Images was made as a way to understand how the documentary performance image works in relation to text, as well as creating the context to make work for which there was, at that time, no practical forum. The images chosen for this series of documents aim to evoke ideas beyond the photograph and reflect the ambiguity implicit in attempts to document (capture) a performance within a photograph. The document replaces the performance: the camera authenticates the activity in its position as witness and the photographic image stands in place of the performance and becomes the work itself. When supported by other information such as dates, location, and use of materials, duration and description of events these images provide the forensic link to communicate ideas that occurred within the live performance to a non-live situation.