Supplement to Bernedette Wegenstein reading

Body Performances from 1960’s Wounds to 1990’s Extensions (pg. 37-43)

“…I found that this thing called the camera-the video camera- and the screen, the monitor, are tools that can do that by their nature, because they give you the world back, but in[…] it’s not your own experience, but yet it is not mediated to another person, it’s this kind of mechanical art- it can give you new points of view and new insights in a simple and direct way”– Bill Viola pg. 37 


Futurism  was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized speed, technology, youth, and violence, and objects such as the car, the aeroplane, and the industrial city. Although it was largely an Italian phenomenon, there were parallel movements in Russia, England, Belgium and elsewhere. The Futurists practiced in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, urban design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture, and even Futurist meals.  Cubism contributed to the formation of Italian Futurism’s artistic style.[2] Important Futurist works included Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurism, Boccioni’s sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, and Balla’s painting Abstract Speed + Sound (pictured). To some extent Futurism influenced the art movements Art Deco, Constructivism, Surrealism, and  Dada.

Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centers in Zürich, Switzerland at the Cabaret Voltaire (circa 1916); New York Dada began circa 1915, and after 1920 Dada flourished in Paris. Developed in reaction to World War I, the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture. Dadaist artists expressed their discontent with violence, war, and nationalism, and maintained political affinities with the radical left. (Legend has it that the term Da Da comes from the artists Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco saying “da da” often, which means “yes yes” in Croatian)

Hannah Höch (German: November 1, 1889 – May 31, 1978) was a German Dada artist. She is best known as an originators of photomontage, a type of collage in which the pasted items are actual photographs, or photographic reproductions pulled from widely produced media.

Hannah Hoch The Beautiful Girl (1920)

Hannah Höch. German, 1889-1978
Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany (Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser durch die letzte Weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands). 1919-1920
Photomontage and collage with watercolor, 44 7/8 x 35 7/16” (114 x 90 cm)
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie

Carlo Carrà (February 11, 1881 – April 13, 1966) was an Italian painter and a leading figure of the Futurist movement that flourished in Italy during the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to his many paintings, In 1910 he signed, along with Umberto Boccioni, Luigi Russolo and Giacomo Balla the Manifesto of Futurist Painters, and began a phase of painting that became his most popular and influential.

Rhythms of Objects (Ritmi d’oggetti) (1911)  oil on canvas, 53 x 67 cm,

Carlo Carrà Manifestazione Interventista (1919) Tempera, pen, mica powder, and paper glued on cardboard, 39.1 x 30 cm

Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti (December 22, 1876 – December 2 1944) was an Italian poet, editor, art theorist, and credited founder of the Futurist movement. Marinetti is best known as the author of the first Futurist Manifesto, which was written and published in 1909. 

Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti , A Tumultuous Assembly. Numerical Sensibility (c. 1919), Letterpress, 10 1/2 x 13 in. 

Günter Brus (b. September 27 1938) is a controversial Austrian painter, performance artist, graphic artist, experimental filmmaker and writer. Brus was a co-founder in 1964 of Viennese Actionism. His aggressively presented actionism intentionally disregarded conventions and taboos with the intent of shocking the viewer. He was involved into the NO!Art movement. In 1966 he was with Gustav Metzger, Otto Muehl, Wolf Vostell, Yoko Ono and others a participant of the Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS) in London.

Günter Brus, Aktion Selbstbemalung I, 1964


Deborah Warner (born May 12,1959) is an internationally acclaimed British director of theatre and opera known for her interpretations of the works of Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Georg Büchner, and Henrik Ibsen.

Deborah Warner, The Angel Project (2003)


“The first feather — sleek, silvery, perfectly symmetrical — fluttered to my feet on the Manhattan-side platform of the Roosevelt Island Tramway. It was one of thousands of feathers I would happen upon on Tuesday during my experience of ”The Angel Project,” the director Deborah Warner’s mystical walking tour of New York and the theatrical centerpiece and opening event of this year’s Lincoln Center Festival.

Still ahead was that long, lush U-shaped pathway of white feathers in a celestial locker room; the pastel plumage of the small caged birds that had taken over a deserted office, high above Times Square; the feathers — sometimes black, sometimes white — on the angels themselves, who were often to be found sleeping on floors and desks.

Yet it seems unlikely that Ms. Warner was responsible for that first silver feather on the tramway platform while I was waiting to go to Roosevelt Island, where ”The Angel Project” begins. I looked up and saw the pigeon it had come from, and surely that pigeon was not in Lincoln Center’s employ….” – Ben Brantley in NY Times

Chuck Close (born July 5, 1940) is an American artist who achieved fame as a photorealist, through his massive-scale portraits. Close often paints abstract portraits of himself and others, which hang in collections internationally. Close also creates photo portraits using a very large format camera.

Chuck Close, Self Portrait (2004-2005) oil on canvas (102″x86″)

Chuck Close Website: 

Gabi Trinkaus (Austrian, b. 1966) refers to herself as a “media thief.” She cuts up glossy magazines into small pieces, using them as source material for her collages of portraits and city landscapes which refer to the aesthetics of advertising and the mass media. Common poses, ideals of beauty, and commodity offerings are picked up and sampled in the large works. In these makeovers of faces and bodies, Trinkaus generates a superficially perfect form, enticing the beholder into a visual trap, consciously using media and advertising iconography as bait for the first glance. By borrowing from an aesthetic associated with the world of advertising and celebrated iconic faces, Trinkaus plays with the idea of seduction in her work. With the help of the collage technique, she creates a Frankenstein-like resurrection of the dissected advertising subject. Like layers of make up pealing away, the faces and bodies seem to dissolve and reveal the mask-like character of our daily life performances.

Gabi Trinkaus, She’s Born With It (2009), printed matter on canvas, 165 cm x 120 cm

Gabi Trinkhaus, er, (2009), printed matter and pins, 52,5 x 47,5 cm

Gabi Trinkhaus, J´adore (2005) printed matter on canvas 165 x 140 cm- book cover image

Gabi Trinkhaus, you can sleep (2006) printed matter on canvas, 2 panels, 250 x 220 cm ea.


Performances in the Era of New Media, or the End of Performance? (pg. 73-78)

Stelarc (b. 1946, Cyprus) is a performance artist whose works focus heavily on extending the capabilities of the human body. As such, most of his pieces are centered on his concept that “the human body is obsolete”.

Stelarc, Prosthetic Head (2003) link to more info: 

Stelarc, Ear on Arm (2003-2012)

“I have always been intrigued about engineering a soft prosthesis using my own skin, as a permanent modification of the body architecture. The assumption being that if the body was altered it might mean adjusting its awareness. Engineering an alternate anatomical architecture, one that also performs telematically. Certainly what becomes important now is not merely the body’s identity, but its connectivity- not its mobility or location, but its interface. In these projects and performances, a prosthesis is not seen as a sign of lack but rather as a symptom of excess. As technology proliferates and microminiaturizes it becomes biocompatible in both scale and substance and is incorporated as a component of the body. These prosthetic attachments and implants are not simply replacements for a part of the body that has been traumatized or has been amputated. These are prosthetic objects that augment the body’s architecture, engineering extended operational systems of bodies and bits of bodies, spatially separated but electronically connected. Having constructed a Third Hand (actuated by EMG signals) and a Virtual Arm (driven by sensor gloves), there was a desire to engineer an additional ear (that would be speak to the person who came close to it). The project over the last 12 years has unfolded in several ways. The EXTRA EAR was first imaged as an ear on the side of the head. THE 1/4 SCALE EAR involved growing small replicas of my ear using living cells. And recently, THE EAR ON ARM which began the surgical construction of a full-sized ear on my forearm, one that would transmit the sounds it hears.

The EAR ON ARM has required 2 surgeries thus far. An extra ear is presently being constructed on my forearm: A left ear on a left arm. An ear that not only hears but also transmits. A facial feature has been replicated, relocated and will now be rewired for alternate capabilities. Excess skin was created with an implanted skin expander in the forearm. By injecting saline solution into a subcutaneous port, the kidney shaped silicon implant stretched the skin, forming a pocket of excess skin that could be used in surgically constructing the ear. The body is a living system which isn’t easy to surgically sculpt. And recovery time is needed after the surgical procedures. There were several serious problems that occurred: a necrosis during the skin expansion process necessitated excising it and rotating the position of the ear around the arm. Ironically, this proved to be the original site that the 3D model and animation was visualized. Anyway, the inner forearm was anatomically a good site for the ear construction. The skin is thin and smooth there, and ergonomically locating it on the inner forearm minimizes the inadvertent knocking or scraping of the ear. A second surgery inserted a Medpor scaffold and the skin being suctioned over it. The Medpor implant is a porous, biocompatible polyethylene material, with pore sizes ranging from 100-250 micrometers. This can be shaped into several parts and sutured together to form the ear shape. Because it has a pore structure that is interconnected and omnidirectional it encourages fibrovascular ingrowth, becoming integrated with my arm at the inserted site, not allowing any shifting of the scaffold. We had originally considered mounting the ear scaffold onto a Medpor plate thinking that this might elevate it more, and position it more robustly to the arm. But this wasn’t the case and this solution was abandoned after being tested during surgery. Now, implanting a custom made silastic ridge along the helical rim would certainly increase helical definition but also would make room for later replacement of that ridge with cartilage grown from my own tissues. The helix would need to be lifted enabling the formation of a conch and make the ear a more 3D structure. The ear lobe will most likely be formed by creating a cutaneous ‘bag’ that will be filled with adipoderived stem cells and mature adipocytes. In other words the ear lobe would be partly grown using my own adult stem cells. Such a procedure is not legal in the USA, so it will be done in Europe. It’s still somewhat experimental with no guarantee that the stem cells will grow evenly and smoothly – but it does provide the opportunity of sculpturally growing more parts of the ear- and possibly resulting in a cauliflower ear! During the second procedure a miniature microphone was positioned inside the ear. At the end of the surgery, the inserted microphone was tested successfully. Even supported with a partial plaster cast, the arm fully wrapped and the surgeon speaking with his face mask on, the voice was clearly heard and wirelessly transmitted. Unfortunately it had to be removed. The infection caused by the implanted microphone several weeks later proved to serious and heroic efforts were undertaken to save the scaffold, after the microphone was surgically extracted. The final procedure will re-implant a miniature microphone to enable a wireless connection to the Internet, making the ear a remote listening device for people in other places. For example, someone in Venice could listen to what my ear is hearing in Melbourne. This project has been about replicating a bodily structure, relocating it and now re-wiring it for alternate functions. It manifests both a desire to deconstruct our evolutionary architecture and to integrate microminiaturized electronics inside the body. We have evolved soft internal organs to better operate and interact with the world. Now we can engineer additional and external organs to better function in the technological and media terrain we now inhabit. It also sees the body as an extended operational system- extruding its awareness and experience. Another alternate functionality, aside from this remote listening, is the idea of the ear as part of an extended and distributed Bluetooth system – where the receiver and speaker are positioned inside my mouth. If you telephone me on your mobile phone I could speak to you through my ear, but I would hear your voice ‘inside’ my head. If I keep my mouth closed only I will be able to hear your voice. If someone is close to me and I open my mouth, that person will hear the voice of the other coming from this body, as an acoustical presence of another body from somewhere else. This additional and enabled EAR ON ARM effectively becomes an Internet organ for the body. The body now performs beyond the boundaries of its skin and beyond the local space that it occupies. It can project its physical presence elsewhere. So the notion of single agency is undermined, or at least made more problematic. The body becomes a nexus or a node of collaborating agents that are not simply separated or excluded because of the boundary of our skin, or of having to be in proximity. So we can experience remote bodies, and we can have these remote bodies invading, inhabiting and emanating from the architecture of our bodies, expressed by the movements and sounds prompted by remote agents. What is being generated and experienced is not the biological other – but an excessive technological other, a third other. A remote and phantom presence manifested by a locally situated body. And with the increasing proliferation of haptic devices on the Internet it will be possible to generate more potent phantom presences. Not only is there FRACTAL FLESH (bodies and bits of bodies, spatially separated but electronically connected, generating similar patterns of recurring activity at different scales); there is now PHANTOM FLESH(Phantom not as in phantasm, but as in phantom limb. Haptic technologies generating tactile and force-feedback that results in a more potent presence of remote bodies). The biological body is not well organ-ized. The body needs to be Internet enabled in more intimate ways. THE EAR ON ARM project suggests an alternate anatomical architecture – the engineering of a new organ for the body: an available, accessible and mobile organ for other bodies in other places, enabling people to locate and listen in to another body elsewhere.”- sourced from 

2010 New Territories Podcast: Stelarc on Excess and Indifference; The Cadaver, The Comotose and The Chimera

VALIE EXPORT (born May 17, 1940)  is an Austrian artist. Her artistic work includes video installations, body performances, expanded cinema, computer animations, photography, sculptures and publications covering contemporary arts.Valie Export, Tap and Touch Cinema, 1968-1972

Vito Hannibal Acconci (January 24, 1940 – April 27, 2017) was an American designer, landscape architect, performance and installation artist.

Vito Acconci, Trademarks (1970).

Sitting in front of a camera, Acconci performs a series of contorted poses and bites into his arms, legs and shoulders, resulting in impressions of his teeth left on his skin. He then covers these marks with printers ink and used them to stamp various surfaces.

Gina Pane (b.May 24, 1939 – d.March 6, 1990) was a French artist of Italian origins. She was a member of the 1970s Body Art movement in France, called “Art corporel”.

Gina Pane Discours Mou Et Mat (1975) 
Pane, dressed in white and wearing sun glasses, performs various actions using objects laid out in the room. A poem is being read out, the subject of which is the mother figure and birth. She smashes her reflection in a mirror to pieces. The word ‘Aliention’ which is written across her mirror image is destroyed. Pane ends the performance by lying down beside the naked female figure, the mother. Restful violin music surrounds them, she looks upwards through binoculars. The camera does not play an active role in this work, but only serves to register Pane’s actions. The performance is attended by an audience, which now and then is briefly filmed by the camera.

Video documentation excerpt:

VALIE EXPORT- Genital Panic

sourced from

Action Pants: Genital Panic is a set of six identical posters from a larger group that the artist produced to commemorate an action she performed in Munich in 1968. The posters show EXPORT sitting on a bench against a wall out of doors wearing crotchless trousers and a leather shirt and holding a machine-gun. Her feet are bare and vulnerable, as are her genitals, and she holds the gun at chest level, apparently in readiness to turn it on the viewer towards whom her gaze is directed. Her hair stands up in a wild mop above her head, emphasising the strangeness of the image.

The action that gave rise to the photograph Action Pants: Genital Panic has become the subject of apocryphal art historical legend. EXPORT performed Genital Panic in Munich in an art cinema where experimental film-makers were showing their work. Wearing trousers from which a triangle had been removed at the crotch, the artist walked between the rows of seated viewers, her exposed genitalia at face-level. This confrontation challenged the perceived cliché of women’s historical representation in the cinema as passive objects denied agency. In a 1979 interview with Ruth Askey published in the Los Angeles-based performance magazine High Performance, EXPORT is quoted describing her action as having taken place in a pornographic film theatre. In this version of the story, the artist carried a machine gun and offered her sex to the audience while pointing the gun at people’s heads. As she moved from row to row, people silently got up and left the theatre (High Performance, Vol.4, Issue1, Spring 1981, p.80). Although it fulfils the promise of the image in the poster, this version of events has been emphatically denied by the artist (VALIE EXPORT, p.32).

The performance of actions outside of traditional art venues was a central concern for EXPORT during her early years of art-making. Born and educated in Linz, EXPORT attended an arts and crafts school there before going to Vienna to study textile design. In 1960s Vienna, the artistic avant-garde existed in small groupings such as the Wiener Gruppe, the Viennese Actionists and the experimental film-makers. EXPORT’s earliest works, such as Abstract Film No.1 1967 (Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna), played with the medium of film, and in 1968 she was invited to participate in a meeting of international independent film-makers in Munich. During this visit she performed Genital Panic in a cinema and presented another well-known work, Tapp und Taskino (Touch Cinema), on the street. Wearing a wooden box fronted by a curtain on the upper half of her body, EXPORT invited people to reach inside and feel her breasts. Like Genital PanicTouch Cinema forced people to encounter in public parts of the female body that they would normally touch or view in a private space or in darkness, where they would not be observed by unknown others. EXPORT has commented:

I didn’t want to perform in a gallery or a museum, as they were too conservative for me, and would only give conventional responses to my experimental works. It was important for me to present my works to the public, in the public space, and not within an art-conservative space, but in the by then so-called underground … When I was performing my actions in public, on the streets, in the urban space, new and different forms of reception developed. In the streets I provoked new explanations. I wanted to be provocative, to provoke, but also aggression was part of my intention. I wanted to provoke, because I sought to change the people’s way of seeing and thinking … If I hadn’t been provocative, I couldn’t have made visible what I wanted to show. I had to penetrate things to bring them to the exterior.

(Quoted in VALIE EXPORT, pp.148-9.)
The black and white photograph, Action Pants: Genital Panic, was taken by the photographer Peter Hassmann in Vienna in 1969. EXPORT had it screenprinted as a poster in a large edition of unknown size in order to flypost the image in public spaces and on the streets. At the end of the 1960s, the notions of guerrilla warfare and revolution on which it played were particularly pertinent – in 1967, the famous Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara was executed, and the following year students rioted in Paris, and the American cities of Baltimore and Washinton DC were shaken by civil unrest after the murder of Martin Luther King. In 1994 the image was flyposted in Berlin, where EXPORT was teaching at the Hochschüle der Kunste (the Academy of Arts). Tate’s holding of six, which the artist has specified should be exhibited as a group, reflects this history of the image by emphasising its status as a multiple. Another photograph with the same title taken by Hassmann in 1969 shows the artist sitting on a wooden chair next to a wall in a room with a parquet floor. She wears the same outfit and holds the same gun, but she has incongruously feminine sandals on her feet and holds the gun pointing upwards. This version of the image was issued in 2001 as a gelatine print in an edition of twenty. In Action Pants: Genital Panic EXPORT defends her female body with the male phallic symbol of the gun. Her self-exposure emphasises her lack of a penis, demonstrating the symbol of power to be a prosthetic and its possession to be a product of role play, positing action over biology. The combination of macho aggression with femininity is typical of EXPORT’s imagery from the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Further reading:
VALIE EXPORT, exhibition catalogue, Centre national de la photographie, Paris, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva and Camden Arts Centre, London 2003, pp.20-22 and 145, reproduced p.14.
VALIE EXPORT: Ob/De+Con(Struction), exhibition catalogue, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, Santa Monica Museum of Art and Otis School of Art and Design, Los Angeles 2000, pp.13, 18, 32.

Elizabeth Manchester
March 2007

“the voice as performance, act and body”, 2007

Link to website: