Dawn Kasper's Spontaneous Web
"There is an electricity transmitted between a performer and a live audience," says Los Angeles performance artist, Dawn Kasper. "The exchange between the performer and the audience is powerful, intimate and specific."
That is distinctly different from the act of making a video in the privacy of your own home and posting it on YouTube or other social media platforms, an act that Kasper sees as much more passive: "There is little spontaneity and risk involved. Little room for failure and mistakes to be made. A lot of time to think and over think."
And so in putting together a playlist of videos as part of an original MOCAtv series called "YouTube Curated By," Kasper selected some moments of real-life risk-taking and spontaneity. In the video below, Kasper points us to:
-Marc H. Miller's interviews of Jean-Michel Basquiat before he was famous
-Fugazi's Gulf War protest at the White House
-The night Andy Kaufman took his entire audience out for milk and cookies after his performance.
As you can see, and as Kasper points out, Marc H. Miller's approach to interviewing artists is completely awkward. And yet, his lousy questions are highly effective. We asked Kasper why she thinks that is the case.
Here's her response:
When it comes to speaking on one's own work (say in Marc H. Miller's instance, in an interview format made specifically for video) the interviewer can help frame out a context with their questions. In Miller's case and given the innocent nature of his questions, an artist could really answer in any way. One could be talking about anything. its appears clear to me on several different occasions that Miller doesn't himself have a language for the work that he's addressing and questioning. It appears that it could be possible that he was simply curious. That he was given assignments and going to artist studios to do all of the leg work, piecing the interview process together on location or in post. It's spontaneous and open. It's amazing to watch this language being built and developed right before our eyes.
To answer your question, I believe Marc H Miller's interviews helped the artists frame a language around their work and what they were working on during that specific time of his interview process.
We also asked Kasper a naive question of our own. To what extent is YouTube an effective platform for activists?
Here's her response:
YouTube is highly mediated. I believe that there is great potential to enable activism on the Internet. It has occurred and continues to occur all the time. Given the nature of Internet mediation, hackers or activists do not have much time before they are found out and shut down so it is often very short, fast and immediate. Made for specific audiences. Most effective if used correctly.
To view the rest of the MOCAtv series, click here.
Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.