Making Visible Bodies: Artistic Interventions of Recognition and Responsibility
To what extent are we responsible for what we view? And what does it mean to be responsible for how we view? Through an examination of Adrian Piper’s My Calling (Card) #1 (1986), William Pope.L’s Tompkins Square Crawl (1991), Wu Tsang’s Shape of the Right Statement (2008), and CHRISTEENE’s African Mayonnaise (2012), this project examines the ways in which artistic interventions implicate the position and agency of the viewer. In these works, the artists open a space for audiences to participate in, react to, and acknowledge social inequality and difference. By making oppressed lives visible, they force viewers to realize their own responsibility and culpability for the conditions they are witnessing. The performances utilize thematics of race, homelessness, and gender, as well as gestures of confrontation and recognition, in order to activate ever-present but often-ignored social hierarchies.