Documenting Documents: Who Has Seen Meat Joy? What is in Store for Instandstillnessence?
Walter Benjamin announced the death of the aura in his influential essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducability.” The German philosopher speculated that the act of photographing works of art was decaying and would ultimately destroy the aura, “the here and now of the work of art,” that invisible thin layer of space and time projected from the work of art within which its history and originality is safe-guarded and reserved for the viewing public within the walls of the museum . The implications are clear: works of art, on their path to mass dissemination, would suffer at the hands of photography. No longer would audiences flock to museums to gaze upon works of art. Like the nineteenth century armchair traveler, transported to far off worlds through stereographs and photographic albums, one might enjoy works of art nearly anywhere without having to make a special trip to a specific place. And what of the thin layer of space and time unique to each work? Benjamin linked the disappearance of the aura to the production of reproductions that were permeating the settings of the everyday.
In this 1935-36 essay Benjamin was concerned primarily with the negative effects that reproduction/documentation would have on works of art. However, he makes no mention of how these reproductions would alter the spectators experience of art in its mediated form. Because the practice of learning about artworks through documentation/reproduction is the standard in universities, and because people have witnessed the survival of the aura despite the incessant snapping of photographs that takes place within the institution by both administrators and spectators, viewers and scholars alike must acknowledge the difference between knowing and experiencing a work of art first-hand and knowing and experiencing a work of art in its mediated forms. This essay will consist of an investigation into the nature of first- and second-hand experiences of works of art. It will not attempt to qualify these experiences, one over another, as this would ultimately prove futile. Instead this essay will concern two case studies through which one might gain access to the broader discourse surrounding the documentation/reproduction of works of art.
In order to embark on this investigation it would perhaps be useful to consider how viewers come to experience works of art. Richard Lachapelle outlines the process through which viewers have aesthetic defining aesthetic understanding as, “an individual response to a work of art without undue regard for the quality of that response,” and as, “a learning process by which the viewer, in encountering an art object, constructs new knowledge about the object in question and, in occasional ideal situations, about the nature of art itself” . Lachapelle suggests that the aesthetic experience takes place in two distinct phases; one a phase of what he calls experiential learning followed by a second phase of theoretical learning. Significantly, Lachapelle asserts that aesthetic understanding ultimately results from a process that begins with viewing a work of art in person . The viewer then enters a different level of interaction with the work through outside sources that ends in both of these processes intermingling ad infinitum; each informing the other as the viewer’s understanding and experience of the work changes over time. Lachapelle describes this process as follows: “… the viewer first encounters the work of art and formulates an initial interpretation. Then through a process involving theoretical learning, the viewer compares his or her first interpretation within a related body of external, scientific information” . Although this model describes what many would consider an ideal learning situation (one that sees viewers engaging with art in both its material and [con]textual forms), it is important to take into consideration that which informs each stage of learning before discounting the model as an idealist conception. I will describe the model at length here, as it will act as a foundation to the approach taken in the case studies that will follow. This model, despite its seeming flaws, can be applied to viewers with any level of knowledge and interest in art.
Experiential learning takes place in three phases and involves knowledge that any individual already holds prior to encountering the work of art. The first engages the mediating knowledge of the individual, which provides them access to works of art by allowing similar experiences related to aesthetic appreciation from the past to resurface in order to inform and engage the present. It is a subject-centered body of knowledge gathered from previous experiences. The second phase engages objectified knowledge. Objectified knowledge is that which is made “concrete and perceptible”  by the work of art. It also serves to capture the knowledge which artists invest in and communicate through the artwork. The third phase of experiential learning is an interaction between the first two phases which results in constructed knowledge. Constructed knowledge is a personal understanding of the work of art which assigns meaning to works based on that which is communicated directly from the material of the work (the objectified knowledge) and through memory and imagination (mediating knowledge). Constructed knowledge is then used as a starting point from which to develop and engage in theoretical knowledge; “through this second encounter the viewer takes advantage of the insight and knowledge of others in order to further [their] aesthetic understanding of the work of art” .
If there is a weakness in this proposed model it is that Lachapelle presupposes a level of involvement with art, on the part of the viewer, that would drive them to learn about artworks outside of the context of their bi-annual, Sunday visits to the museum. However, one must understand that theoretical knowledge need not require much effort to find; it can take many different forms. The only thing that qualifies knowledge as theoretical in this model is that it is new to the viewer and that it is gained from a source outside of the art object. Even wall texts and exhibition catalogues can be understood as supplementary texts or documentation seeing as more often than not these are the first sources to which people look in order to supplement and further their understanding of artworks. The gallery/museum-goer is presented with the possibility of engaging in the second phase of learning without having to leave the institutional setting in which viewing takes place in the first phase. There is no denying that a time-based chronological mapping of aesthetic experience may be considered unsound. However, Lachapelle envisions the process as ongoing and dynamic whereby theoretical and experiential learning can take place in any order, the result of which can then be transformed into mediating knowledge every time the viewer returns to the work in person. Perhaps this model is best understood as a cyclical process whereby objects inform texts and vice versa. I would like to consider how aesthetic experiences change when an artwork, specifically Carolee Schneemann’s performance work Meat Joy, is experienced through its documented counterpart (Fig. 1, 2, 3) (usually photographs of the work). Furthermore, I will expand this discussion by considering how artist John Oswald is responding to documentation through his technologically oriented art practice.
The meaning of an ephemeral artwork is destabilized when it is photographed, leading to a dependence on the written word to expand the work temporally through text. Amelia Jones has observed that documents of works of art are contingent upon the contextualization and interpretation provided by text to create meaning . She goes on to argue that the function of documentation is to create a mirage of the work of art through which one comes to experience it . She is referring here specifically to performance works which some might argue are best accessed through firsthand experience, as these works are time based and cannot be captured fully through documentation. Jones does not privilege the corporeal experience of a work of art over that which is experienced solely through documentation. She contends that the desire for immediacy; that direct contact between the artist/artwork and the viewer is an idealized notion of the past that should no longer be of central concern, as the boundaries of space and time are increasingly disintegrating with the advent of new technologies . Advances in technology are the very thing which should cause the firsthand experience of works of art to be of greatest concern. Just as audiences are vacating the museum in lieu of technologically mediated experiences, artists are also taking advantage of new technological possibilities, implementing them into their art practices and making them increasingly more difficult to capture through reproduction. And let us not forget the complicated nature of photography—something which many photo-snapping camera ‘operators’ are completely unaware of . Most people look at photographs especially in the form of a document and believe that what they are looking at is ‘truth’; photographs present evidence of a moment ‘that-has-been’ . However, the truthful nature of photographs can be quite deceiving. Even though photography seems to produce objective recordings of events, the complexity of the images must not be overlooked. Photographs presuppose the presence of an author; the person standing behind the lens that points, shoots and freezes moments in time. There is an element of choice caught up in this seemingly innocent practice and even the act of framing something with the camera lens is a sign of authorial intent. What has been left out of the photograph is known only to the camera operator, but it is equally important as that which appears in the image. It is the camera operator alone (and perhaps those who were present in that same instance) who can contextualize the image in a chain of events that are no longer available for experience; the photograph becomes a (re)presentation of the past, stripped from a series of events which must be built up around the image in order to fix meaning to it. The idea of a textual frame, which surrounds the documentation of art in order to stabilize the meaning of the work, experienced via photography, makes an interesting comparison with what French poststructuralist theorist Jacques Derrida’s called the parergon. The parergon makes literal reference to the frame that surrounds any artwork, it is that which, “comes up against, beside, and in addition to, the ergon [the work itself]” . Although Derrida discusses the parergon as a material construct, I would like to suggest that text and even photographs (especially in the case of performance art) can assume the role of parergon. The parergon works symbiotically with the ergon in order to compensate for that which is inherently lacking in the latter. Peter Wagner has commented on the nature of the parergon as a “term designat[ing] (in art) something that is subordinate or accessory to the main subject.” He goes on to explain that as accessory to the work, the parergon is also a very important point of access to it; “‘it touches and cooperates’, supplementing and making up for a lack in the center of the work” . In the case of photographs that document ephemeral works of art, where viewers must turn to them to gather experiential knowledge, the lack stems absence. Documents of works of art gain meaning through narration as many photographs do . If the viewer has gone through the stage of experiential learning mentioned in Lachapelle’s theory above, the work, having been experienced first hand, assumes a place in their autobiographical memory through the development of objectified knowledge . This experience can then be recounted or verbally reconstructed at a later date. Experience of works of art through photography can only be recounted to the extent that a photograph can be experienced visually. There is a great possibility that these images will enter the realm of memory as part of a newly constructed knowledge, but they will be reconstructed differently, as the stories that surround them could not be autobiographical. The experience derived from looking at photographs of works of art is twice removed; once by the image itself (by the authorial intent imposed upon the content of the photograph) and secondly by the text which acts to recount someone else’s experience and interpretation of the work. When looking at documents of works of art the nature of the mediating knowledge which is engaged during the first phase of experiential learning will be much different from that which might have surfaced had the viewer experienced the work first hand. There is no visceral objectified knowledge to supplement it outside of the photograph and therefore the aesthetic experience will differ greatly. Let us turn to the first case study in order to fully explore the absence of artworks in aesthetic experience.
Case Study 1: Who has seen Meat Joy?
Artist Carolee Schneemann is perhaps best known for her radical performance works from the 1960s and 70s. There are few art-oriented minds that are unfamiliar with her infamous ‘happening,’ Meat Joy, which was originally performed in 1964, once in Paris at the Festival of Free Expression, then in London at the Dennison Hall, and again in New York at the Judson Church. Despite the fact that Schneemann is best known for this work, there are very few people who can attest to having been present during either of these first two performances, and there are fewer still who can describe the work from more than the widely circulated photographs that depict what is a seemingly raw meat-infested orgy of pleasure and debauchery. Scholarship built up around this work has much to offer on the front of analysis and criticism (which is generally misguided because of the lack of accessibility to the work) and very little to do with description (ancillary to the photographs that accompany the texts). The only publication which describes the work in its entirety comes from the artist herself in the form of the script/score included in her book, More than Meat Joy. The title of the book is not surprising, considering the difficulties that the artworld and audiences have experienced when it comes to separating Schneemann’s practice from this particular work. Some art critics have observed the phenomenon as a “‘Dionysian cul-de-sac’ in which [her practice as an artist] has unjustly been sealed off” . One might ask why it is that many have understood Schneemann as little more than a naked body caught up in a then-newly-emerging feminist discourse which she was too beautiful to articulate through her work . It would be easy to point to the unconventional and shocking nature of her performances at the time and conclude that there was no other possible outcome; the avant-garde artist always suffers at the hands of the conservative audiences they have surpassed. This phenomenon is far more complex than it first appears and it has much to do with the documents that surfaced as part of the posthumous survival of her work. In the following paragraphs I will discuss the traces left behind from Meat Joy and how they have acted to distort understanding of the work.
When engaging mediating knowledge and collecting objectified knowledge about a work of art, second-hand viewers must rely upon photographs as a physical, two-dimensional point of access. The nature of objectified knowledge as mentioned above is that it interacts with both the mediating knowledge and theoretical knowledge gained by the viewer during aesthetic experiences in order to create new understandings about works of art. In the case of Meat Joy, many observers did not physically access the work of art and are therefore unable to develop an objectified knowledge outside of the photographs that document it. This is a case where that which should be parergetical assumes the role of the ergon in absence of work itself . As we shall see, it requires a very specific kind of situation in which part of the parergon can successfully act as a substitute to ergon. The following excerpt makes evident the overwhelming power photographs have in influencing people’s perception: “What strikes anyone looking at the existing fragments of the Paris happening is how much fun the performers are having as they variously paint and smear chickens, fish and sausages over one another’s bodies” . Through this text the viewer is supposed to be accessing new information about the work in order to supplement their existing understanding of it (if indeed this information isn’t entirely new to them). While criticism helps stabilize the meaning of the image and extends the context of the work, it does not always describe it outside of its documentary form as is seen in this example. Robert Enright communicates nothing more than is already evident in the photograph that appears, in accompaniment to his essay, on the cover of the February issue of Bordercrossings, 1998. There is nothing of the visceral experience of Meat Joy which is expounded upon here, and the documents are never discussed in terms of what they do not include. The point of view from which Enright positions himself is that of the photographer who took the picture. Schneemann has described the audience as sitting on the floor, as close to the performance area as possible . At no point would they have been able to propel themselves to a bird’s eye view to witness the charmed and ecstatic expressions on the performers’ faces. If anything, they would be looking up at the performers from their position on the floor, the effect of which, when used cinematically, tends to subjugate the viewer; it makes them feel small in the presence of something very big. One can understand why the performer/viewer relationship was conceived of in this way: Meat Joy was intended to be an overwhelming experience, “an erotic rite: excessive, indulgent, a celebration of flesh and material…” .
Sitting on the floor makes the experience that much more powerful. In the photograph the expressions which communicate how happy the performers were would never have been so clearly visible to the live audience, as the eye is not capable of zooming in for a close-up. Instead, the very energy of the performers—the lighting, the noises and sounds, the sensual materials and odors, the culmination of it all—presented the audience with the possibility of being pushed to the point of arousal themselves. This is perhaps an argument which substantiates the substitution of documentation of a work of art for the work of art itself; what can no longer be experienced is made up for in the capability of the camera to get close to the performers and capture their joy and abandon. The issue here is not that the document and the performance are not communicating the same things; despite how experiencing them might differ, the difficulty here lies in the fact that the document and the text only point to a very small fraction of the Meat Joy performance; the last fifteen minutes of a sixty- to eighty-minute performance, the rest of which is rarely disseminated publicly. What is most unfortunate in this situation is that Enright’s case is unfortunately not an isolated one.
Another example of a description confining itself to the documentation ofMeat Joy can be found in art critic and curator Nancy Princenthal’s article, “The Arrogance of Pleasure.” Although the article does not focus on this work but rather looks at Schneemann’s oeuvre retrospectively, her description of Meat Joypoints to the fifteen-minute documentary screen through which many people have now come to understand the work, “[it is] a truly Dionysian revel, in which scantily clad women and men cavort with each other while clutching at plucked chickens, fish and buckets of paint” . Anna Dezeuze has observed that, “Meat Joy in most histories of performance art is illustrated by photographs of its third enactment in November 1964 at the Judson Church in New York” . Even the film footage of Meat Joy is limited to the very last moments of the performance. She goes on to say that, “Meat Joy is obviously more than a group of half-naked people with some chickens thrown in” . Dezeuze is speaking from the point of view of a person who had the opportunity to witness the performance of Schneemann’s work in 2002 at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. It is interesting to take her experience into consideration as prior to witnessing the work first hand (albeit a reenactment of it); she was among the many that had only seen pictures of Meat Joy accompanied by texts about performance art. She was only able to envision the work in as much as she could absorb the photographs as objectified knowledge and in as far as critics would go in their descriptions of it. What became shockingly clear to her as she sat through the performance herself was the extreme extent to which her experience of the work differed from her experience of the photographic documents and text:
Viewing the performance at the Whitechapel revealed to me four crucial points which contradict [the] Dionysian reading of the work: the ‘meat’ part of Meat Joy is only the ending of the piece—the ten performers go through different actions for at least 45 minutes before a woman dressed as a waitress starts throwing the meat and fish onto them. Lighting effects and music are all-important elements of the piece, especially at the beginning … the performers’ movements are very much funnier piece than is often thought .
The popular misinterpretation of Meat Joy is not only a result of seeing the same photographs over and over again but also proof that when documents are the only access point for the gathering of objectified knowledge the textual parergon must act to supplement that which is lacking in the center of the work, namely the whole picture. When criticism fails to expand its discussion beyond the documentation of a work of art, the very thing which is supposed to enrich and supplement the work acts to eclipse it with a part of itself. The photographic documentation which acts to build up the mirage of the artwork, to use Jones’s term, screens audiences (including scholars) from considering the work as a whole. Thus begins the vicious cycle as in Schneemann’s case, where scholars who haven’t seen the work rely upon documentation to access it themselves and in turn regurgitate to the public the only thing they can: half of what is actually available for discussion.
Case Study 2: John Oswald and l’arc d’ apparition and instandstillessence
It is difficult to envision ways outside of documentation to disseminate artworks that are no longer physically accessible to extended audiences. Canadian artist John Oswald has developed a strategy which he implemented in his work l’arc d’apparition (2004) which breaks down the gap between objective and theoretical knowledge and, by the very nature of the work, acts to complicate the possibility of documenting it. This work consists of a series of photographic stills that have been transformed using digital technology into what the artist calls ‘moving [photographic] stills.’ Much as if the audience is watching a movie, Oswald’s work is ever-changing and this is perhaps the most intriguing part about l’arc d’apparition. This work exists on a completely different temporal plane. Unlike flashy three-bit-per-second television and movie sequences, this piece has found a space in between cinema and photography . With the knowledge that the average gallery-goer stops in front of an artwork for approximately eight seconds, the artist developed an artwork that would make audiences think and look twice. L’arc d’apparition is literally composed of thousands of stills, taken in the tradition of nineteenth century early ethnographic photographs that are constantly changing state through a computer-generated layering of photographs. Picturing men, women and children, clothed and unclothed, these works of art act as documents, a census so to speak, of a small part of the Canadian population . However, in its constant state of flux, this work of art poses a very interesting possibility of the seemingly living photograph, something that in itself would be very difficult to document. In addition to this, the media chosen to make the work, DVD, makes it widely accessible to audiences; it is actually conceived as something that audiences would take home and experience in their living rooms. Included on the DVD is an interview which acts to supplement the viewers’ understanding of the work, somewhat like wall texts in a museum that would add to people’s theoretical knowledge about it. Oswald conceived this work to be experienced in a domestic setting outside of the institution, where every experience of the work can be drastically different . This work calls into question not only the possibility of photographically documenting the work but also the need to document it.
Oswald came up with the idea of making ‘moving stills’ when he realized that photographers are very much concerned with “making a moment the eternal moment … that people will contemplate” . He wanted to make these sorts of images more alive; he wanted the photograph to breathe . Oswald had done projects of this nature before, but never as a form of entertainment meant for a setting outside of the museum/gallery. He set out for the Avatar studio in Québec City where he made the project. He took photographs of strangers and friends, both clothed and naked, and then layered them one over the other. Through digital technologies, these photographs were transformed into transient entities which fade and reappear at such a slow pace that it is almost imperceptible to the eye. He then sat down with Émile Morin from the Avatar workshop, who asked him to do the DVD, to discuss the nature of the work in order to help viewers understand how the artwork was made and where the DVD fits into Oswald’s art practice. The interview was conceived in such a manner that it would make use of the very basics of video recording. It seems as if Oswald didn’t want the way the interview was filmed to influence the viewers perception of him or his work. In a very plain, white room without props Oswald and Morin are seated at a table framed by two windows. The camera is set up on a wide angle shot that includes both of them in the frame. This shot remains throughout the film and it is unedited. It is as if one day the viewer walked into Avatar studios and had an informal chat with the artist about his work. It is not difficult to see why an artwork like this would nearly be impossible to document, and it would be difficult to conceive of a reason to do so. No single still could ever stand in for the whole, as the work, though it might seem static, is always changing. Any effort to document it would act against the very nature of the work itself, thereby destabilizing the meaning and generating a dependence upon text to describe that which takes place in the before-and-after of that moment “that-has-been.” Let us consider a similar work by Oswald that was conceived of for the museum.
Made with the same principal in mind, instandstillnessence (2004) was exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Fine arts in the summer of 2005 . In its documented form the work consisted of a pictorial plane in which all bodies appeared at the same time. The image, much like a set of theatre lights, was ‘up full’ and all of the photographs were visibly perceptible at the same time (Fig 5). It is important to take into consideration that at no point in the work were all of the bodies on the pictorial plane represented as such and it cannot therefore be considered as a document of the ergon; it doesn’t capture any moment of the metamorphosing work, but rather an extension of it. Oswald provided The Edward Day Gallery with the image from his own database and this is the image which they send to institutions who exhibit the work .
In addition to only being available to experience in the contemporary art section in the basement of theMMFA over a period of five months, instead of an interview with John Oswald, in which the artists discusses the work as a means of supplementing the viewer’s theoretical knowledge of it, there were wall texts which set the stage for the work. Before the viewer enters the room there is a sign of warning that some people might find the work offensive. This is the first point of contact for the viewer as s/he comes before the placard which situates the work within the context of Oswald’s art practice. The museum predicted that the nude bodies, because they were real bodies represented by a truth telling source—photography—might upset some people, and they didn’t want to be left without a disclaimer in the face of anyone who might be offended by this nudity as opposed to other ‘high art’ nudity scattered throughout the museum. In the statement issued on the website about the artwork (there was no catalogue to refer to), the unnamed author seems to name the fear which surfaced in this warning: “We are stared at in a face-to-face encounter that is all the more riveting in that each person’s clothes are removed before our eyes” . Much like in the case of Carolee Schneemann’sMeat Joy, the text which is supposed to supplement the work is instead turning the audience into voyeurs. Interestingly enough, l’arc d’apparition and instandstillnessence are eerily analogous to the role that documentation plays in the life of works of art. The people depicted in the photographs usually never appear fully undressed in public. However, as part of Oswald’s artworks, they were willing to bear all for anyone interested in observing the image long enough to see the transition from clothed to unclothed beings. One might consider documentation as the everyday public persona which not only provides audiences with access to the work, but also, in certain cases (as with Meat Joy ) stands in for the ergon when the work is no longer accessible to the viewing public. These documents appear to the public as ‘clothed,’ but for anyone who is willing to dig deep enough, there is always an unclothed version of the work waiting to be discovered and to enter the realm of objectified knowledge (if not through other documentary sources than) through the thing itself.
Experiencing art through documentation is a complicated issue that has by no means been exhausted by this brief investigation. The very nature of the artwork itself often determines how suitable it is for documentation. One might suggest that experiencing a painting through documentation must be very close to experiencing it in person, and even if this is the case, it is always important to keep in mind that something might be missing from aesthetic experiences based on photographs of works of art. In the case of Meat Joy, extensive documentation is available to the public and the art community. The artist published the score accompanied by a series of photographs in 1979 that were shot from beginning to end during the New York performance in 1964 (Fig. 4, 6, 7). This was a case in which the sexually provocative photographs documenting the last fifteen minutes of the performance eclipsed the entire work. Criticism and interpretation around the work stemmed from these photographs and prevented the rest of the work from surfacing beneath the popular Dionysian interpretation which acted to screen viewers from exploring the work in its entirety.
Not all cases where artworks are disseminated to the public in their documented form produce such unfortunate results. The work of Max Dean is often time-based and/or interactive and difficult to capture through photographic documentation. However, the scholarship which has grown around his work has, more often than not, included the artists own description of how the work functions from beginning to end, or the writer’s own experience of the work . Taking it one step further, Oswald has removed the need to document the work of art with his DVD production l’arc d’apparition. The reason for reproducing works of art originates from inaccessibility. When writing about that which concerns the visual, readers/viewers must be made aware of that which is being made reference to. This is most often accomplished through photographs. There is no original l’arc d’apparition; the work does not reside in a particular museum where people must flock to in order to see it. It is available for anyone who would take the time to acquire it . Furthermore Oswald has even made embarking on the journey to theoretical knowledge a built-in feature of the DVD. As a substitute to wall texts or catalogues, the interview initiates a theoretical learning that can end with theDVD or extend outside of it. Whatever the circumstance, this work not only acts to complicate the institutional will to document works of art, but also sees aesthetic experience as something which takes place outside of the museum setting with full access to the work. Works like this infuse a breath of fresh air into the debate surrounding the documentation of artworks.
1. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducability,” Selected Writings Vol.3 1925-38. Trans. Edmund Jephcott, Howard Eiland, et. al. Eds. Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings. (Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard UP, 2002), pp. 104-5.
2. Richard Lachapelle, “Aesthetic Understanding as Informed Experience: The Role of Knowledge in Our Art Viewing Experiences,” The Journal of Aesthetic Education 37, no.3 (Fall 2003), p. 84.
3. Ibid., p. 79.
5. Ibid., p. 86.
6. Ibid., p. 89.
7. For evidence of the diminishing presence of frequent visitors to the museum see, Adam Gropnik, “The Death of an Audience,” The New Yorker, 5 October 1992, pp. 141-6.
8. Amelia Jones, “‘Presence’ in absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation,” Art Journal 56 (Winter 1997), p. 14.
10. Ibid., p. 17.
11. For information on the photographer as operator see, Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981), p. 9.
12. Roland Barthes, “Rhetoric of the Image,” in Image, Music, Text, Trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Noonday Press, 1977), pp. 44-5.
13. Jacques Derrida, “The Parergon,” in The Truth in Painting, Trans. Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod (University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 54.
14. Peter Wagner, Reading Iconotexts (London: Reaktion Books, 1995), pp. 75,78.
15. For more on photographs and narration please see, Martha Langford, “Introduction: Show and Tell,”Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001), pp. 3-21.
16. For more on the notion of autobiographical memory please see, Ulric Neisser, “Nested Structure in Autobiographical Memory,” in Autobiographical Memory, David C. Rubin, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986), pp. 71-81.
17. Anna Dezeuze, “Meat Joy,” Art Monthly no.257 (June 2002), p. 2.
18. Robert Enright, “Carolee Schneemann in Conversation: The Articulate Body,” Bordercrossings 17.1 (Feb 1998), p. 15.
19. Photographs are more parergon than ergon as photographs, although they act as documents are outside of the work itself, “hors d’oeuvre” as Derrida put it.
20. Enright, p. 16.
21. Carolee Schneemann. More than Meat Joy: Complete Performance Works & Selected Writings. Ed. Bruce McPherson. (New York: Documentext, 1979), p. 26.
23. Nancy Princenthal, “The Arrogance of Pleasure,” Art in America 85 no.10 (Oct 1997), p. 106.
24. Dezeuze, p. 3.
27. “Interview” in l’arc d’apparition, dir. John Oswald. Avatar, 2004. DVD digital loop.
28. The original title of the work is chronophotic: cinema de l’immobile: Census Q: l’arc d’apparition.
29. The DVD is accompanied by a CD which acts as a soundtrack to the work. These two things should be played simultaneously, but as they are separate works on their own there are endless possibilities as to the number of different ways this work can be experienced by audiences.
32. I mistakenly bought the DVD of l’arc d’apparition thinking that it was the DVD which documentedinstandstillnessence. The works are essentially the same but with two different sets of people and theDVD however has a soundtrack.
33. The Edward Day Gallery in Toronto represents Oswald.
34. “John Oswald: instandstillnessence,” Past Exhibitions, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts website, accessed 1 August 2005: available from .
35. See the following sources for information about Max Dean.
36. The DVD is sold for less than thirty dollars and is available via the Internet.