Feminist Aesthetics in the Baltic Video Art
In my presentation I would like to examine the Baltic video art made by women artists, hence my analysis of video performances would be from a gender perspective. I will compare the aesthetics of the first revolutionary feminist videos (e.g. Martha Rosler) with contemporary video art made in the Baltics (suggested artists: Katrina Neiburga, Evelina Deičmane, Egle Rakauskaite, Mare Tralla, Ene-Liis Semper) and focus on the evolution of the form. I will look at the video work as a form of palimpsest containing multiple inscriptions: cultural, social, political, autobiographical. I will particularly focus on the portrayal of the female body, which on most occasions is the artist’s own and can be looked at from a historical perspective as a manifestation of autobiographical impulses. Already from the 1970s, when video became generally available as a medium, it was actively used by women artists as a vehicle to record and show daily activities of women – something that so far was considered as insignificant and trivial. To overcome such stereotypical prejudices, women artists used their bodies as a signifier coding the various meanings that were projected onto it. Contemporary artists continue using their bodies as a political platform and an instrument to raise public awareness of otherwise marginal issues, such as the women’s everyday, motherhood, gender roles, the issue of genius and creativity (traditionally regarded as male) and so forth. However, many of contemporary artists refuse to be labeled as feminists trying to avoid allegedly negative connotations (e.g. audience hate feminists; feminists are generally unhappy and frustrated, etc.). I will consider whether and how the female body has become the “new image” of our times, also questioning the contradiction between the overexploited female body in mass media and the “taboo” of presenting a nude body within the realm of art.