Installation view, LMAK Projects, New York, 2011
Les Uns et Les Autres
Three channel video installation, 2011
Les Uns et Les Autres (The Ones and The Others) explores disparities between the observer and the observed, and of those on the sidelines and those who are fully engaged in political protest and Occupy Wall Street.
The audience's initial view of the installation is the back of the protagonist’s head. When walking around the screen the viewer is placed in the middle of two opposing videos showing the same protagonist in different environments. The videos show the protagonist's two observing perspectives: one from inside the gallery space, the other from the sidelines of Occupy Wall Street. The videos function as mirror images of one another. In them, the protagonist looks at the audience, at herself looking at protestors, and at herself in the white space.
These simultaneous viewpoints challenge preconceived ways of viewing time-based images by placing the audience in a fragmented space, one that implies an exchange between the various perspectives while subverting the idea of sequential images as cohesive, linear narratives. The protagonist's direct observation of the audience dramatizes the experience of being inside the work and positions the viewer in a self-conscious, participatory role.
This is the first video installation where van der Heijden works with an actor (Sarah Stryker) and juxtaposes staged positions with real world current events. Les Uns et Les Autres continues Van der Heijden's ongoing investigation into the power of the gaze and the tendency to objectify "the other". As well as creating installations that set up situations where viewers confront their own position in relation to the artwork and, by implication, to social relations in the outside world.