Performing the document in Francis Alys's re-enactments (2001)

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Fine Arts
Department Art/Art History
Author Lyver Harris, Emily Rose
Title Performing the document in Francis Alys's re-enactments (2001)
Date 2013-12
Description In Francis Alÿs's two-channel video Re-enactments, the artist is filmed as he walks through the streets of downtown Mexico City with a loaded gun in his hand until he is arrested. Managing to avoid charges, Alÿs repeats the same series of events, replicating the performance based on the footage captured by his collaborator, artist Rafael Ortega. "Real" and "Re-enactment," the two videos that comprise Re-enactments, juxtapose the footage of these two performances, taking two divergent approaches to filming the event. In Re-enactments, the performance and the documentation are thoroughly interwoven and mutually dependent; the footage of the initial performance shapes its recreation, which likewise produces another video. In this thesis, I consider Re-enactments both as a live performance that is responsive to and contingent on its setting in Mexico City's downtown, or Centro, and as a video performance that carefully constructs the scene for the viewer. I argue that this work challenges the conventional relationship between performance and its documentation with video by embedding the documentation into the structure of the work. While the current scholarship on this work disregards its documentation as a formative element in the work, I show how the video documents in Re-enactments do not merely refer back to the live performance, but rather act as a crucial counterpart to it. Additionally, by situating Re-enactments in the context of Mexico City at the turn of the twentieth century, I show how this work responds to its environment as well to widely circulated media representations about the city. In rehearsing an act of crime that is then circulated internationally, Re-enactments both generates and critically responds to stereotypes of Mexico City as a center of violence and corruption. While Re-enactments draws on clichés of violence in Mexico City, the videos also attest to how such images are constructed, deliberately highlighting the ways in which the footage has been manipulated. Rather than acting as records of the events of the performance, the videos that comprise Re-enactments demonstrate the performative qualities of documentation.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Francis Alys; Mexico City; Re-enactments
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Emily Rose Lyver Harris 2013
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 9,683,490 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/2650
ARK ark:/87278/s6cr92hg
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2014-01-14
Date Modified 2017-10-24
ID 196225
Reference URL
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