The Florence Tapes
Douglas Davis, 1974, 22'49''

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This work by Douglas Davis consists of four ‘chapters’, which together form a whole; they are entitled: Clothing, Walking, Lifting, Leaving. In each of these parts of the performance, Davis defines the role of the monitor by means of day-to-day actions (getting undressed, walking, lifting things, getting dressed, and leaving), and invites the viewer to do the same. In this way, a relationship is built up between Davis and the viewer, with the monitor acting as go-between. The screen appears to be used as a window, which allows the viewer and Davis to ‘observe’ each other, to imitate each other’s actions, and almost to touch each other. The suggestion of physical contact becomes more direct and more intimate because Davis (and perhaps the viewer as wel) first gets undressed, and then performs the rest of the actions naked. Davis literally lays himself bare, perhaps in the hope that the viewer will follow his example. He addresses the viewer as ‘you’, and his manner of speaking is of a neutral and particularly direct nature. The fact that (in 1974) these pieces were broadcast live on Italian television makes the contact between Davis and the viewer even more immediate. Television as a medium for contact is apparently very important to Davis. He aims at intimacy and interactivity, but at the same time it becomes clear that the electronic connection enforces a form of isolation and a limited degree of intimacy. Although his goal is making contact with the viewer via television, Davis does not create any illusions of all too direct a contact: he stays on his side of the monitor, and you on yours. Television can never be a window with equal sides. Read more...

  • Date: 1974
  • Length: 22'49''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: conceptual, television art (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: body, communication, storytelling, perception, television (subject)