Lovesongs, 1991: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Jill Orr

These images are created for the still and video camera. The video was then projected into the performance space enabling fractured identities to play out. This work was first shown at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne in 1991 and later by popular demand a second season was performed in 1992. Love Songs was also represented in different ways in Sydney, Artspace, Dissonance, and Aspects of Feminism in Art at the wharf. Love Songs were also presented at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. I was exploring the binary polarities of male and female identities with their relationship to technology, in particular large scale video projections. This work enabled me to create footage of my performances as both male, female and the dreamer on the back beach of Barwon Heads, Victoria. He gestures to her and she to him, both longing a connection which in the live performance was complicated further through the projections. There is only an illusion of connection, all else is fabricated through desire. I was reading Freud and his analysis, the mirror phase of child hood development , where the child sees her reflection and realises that it is separate from the primary object of love, the mother. The first realisation of seperation is one of the first traumatic experiences we experience as we grow independent. There is also Freud on narcissism where Narcissus, (an ancient Greek mythical figure) falls in love with his own image reflected in the still water. His own self love prohibited him from falling in love with another so he kills himself. The reality of this work is that the connection between the male and female aspects of the self is purely psychological and in reality merging the two within technology is an illusion. Identities are multiple and fractured morphing between the mediated and the psychological interior. The dangers of working with binaries are that they are restricted to the two poles with little room to move. A bit like the yes no arguments. Marriage of the Bride to Art and Raising the Spirits created a little later in 1994 does articulate some of the grey areas inbetween the absolutes.