Diary #24

Vaneeesa Blaylock, The Hague, 1997, back to camera, doing formalized striptease in front of male faculty member

KONINKLIJK CONSERVATORIUM, 1997 — This was after I left the graduate dance program and had transferred to new media. I asked some of the male dance faculty at Koninklijk to do these pieces with me. As you can see, I’m facing the faculty member in a chair with the camera behind me and the faculty member has the cable release for the camera in his hand. It’s a sort of formalized striptease, I start fully clothed and then just take stuff off one piece at a time. The faculty member clicks the shutter whenever he wants, and that ends the performance. So, as you see here, some clicked right away, others waited a lot longer.

The ones who were willing to be in this were all really generous to do so. Still, you do see different sorts of power relationships. For sure the response ranged from embarrassed to taking pleasure in it. Just like all the players in the art world, you can see the self-impression and expression of power.

Vaneeesa Blaylock, The Hague, 1997, back to camera, doing formalized striptease in front of male faculty member

THE HAGUE, 2012 — It seems like the older I get the less nerve I have. I remember doing these photos and at the time not really thinking it was a big deal. I look at them today and just think, wow, I really did that!? I guess I was pretty cheeky in my day.

Vaneeesa Blaylock, The Hague, 1997, back to camera, doing formalized striptease in front of male faculty member

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Categories: Diary

Author:Vanessa Anne Blaylock

As a Virtual Public Artist my work invites virtual communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

4 Comments on “Diary #24”

  1. Monday, 11 June 2012 at 01:26 UTC #

    Wow the difference between those three photos is pretty big.
    The last one really stands out to me, the man, wearing a suit even, the position of his legs, he’s leaning back it seems, it looks like he’s staring.

    That photo is so revealing, and I don’t mean in terms of nakedness… but I guess that was the point of the series 😀

    • Tuesday, 12 June 2012 at 18:29 UTC #

      oh yes, Michael Nankin. He was… hmm… interesting. From the photo and your comment I think you understand a lot about him.

      It’d be convenient to say he was just a megalomaniac, but to be honest, he was, in his way, brilliant. He knew what he was doing and he knew that he knew. Yes he was arrogant, but he also had the confidence of his vision. When you do a big production, a lot of people can run around a lot, you know, a lot of “sound and fury,” and not accomplish a lot. Then Nankin would show up and just start telling people to do this, do that, and everything would fit in place.

      Still, as a graduate adviser, he was not the most encouraging person for discovering your own wings. When it came to the buffet of creativity, he was pretty much “you’ll have what I’m having.”

  2. Monday, 11 June 2012 at 15:35 UTC #

    I love this, it’s daring and such a great idea. As Ironyca says, it’s not as much you (although the men might have believed so), but the men on display here. Brilliant.

    • Tuesday, 12 June 2012 at 19:06 UTC #

      Thanks Ravanel, and thanks for hangin out here on iRez.

      This was definitely one of those pieces that developed intuitively… and by “intuitively” I mean that it was one of those smartass ideas I thought would be “funny”… and then when we actually did it, it was more powerful than that…

      It’s funny, I sometimes think that one of my strengths (or weaknesses) as an artist is that, all those “stupid” ideas you laugh about over drinks, “wouldn’t it be great if…” that everyone else just laughs and then moves on… I think I’ve always been the one who had the nerve / stupidity to actually go off and do them.

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