Violent incident

“A simple scenario, in which a cruel joke escalates into bickering and violence, is played out four times by professional actors. The scenario is performed twice by the same man and woman exchanging roles, then by two men and by two women.” – TATE

Nauman explained, ‘My work comes out of being frustrated about the human condition. And about how people refuse to understand other people. And about how people can be cruel to each other. It’s not that I think I can change that, but it’s just a frustrating part of human history.’


The introduction of oversaturation onto 3 of the screens, which then bled across onto the other screens, brought out the colour and highlighted the violence of the piece. This emphasised the construction of the piece and helped reveal to the viewer how the piece is constructed.

This piece clearly hinting at how all genders are equally cruel to each other, representing the artist’s anger at ‘the human condition’ and people’s inability to ‘understand other people. And about how people can be cruel to each other’. This is a symbol of all forms of human aggression, like war, politics and abuse. This point is reenforced when the artist said, ‘it’s just a frustrating part of human history.’ This artist is clearly a pacifist and wants to use this piece to show to futility and idiocy of violence and anger. No matter what gender, camera angle or TV screen, the violence is still the same. Showing that in the artist’s eyes, no matter what the scenario or view point, violence is violence, and is still ugly and distasteful.

I think this is interesting and relevant to my artwork because of the use of time, perspectives and speed in this piece used to convey the story. Some videos are in slow motion and others are in real time. The ones in slow motion emphasis what is going on through extending time. Which links to “Serpent rain” and that film’s premise of producing a ‘film without time’. As I believe this piece represents a ‘film without time’ due to the manipulation of time throughout this piece.

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