Go back to article: Technologies of Romance: looking for ‘object love’ in three works of video art

Abstract

In this paper the author discusses three works of video art featured in the Technologies of Romance symposium held at the Science Museum, London, in 2018. The author searches within video art, as a genre or medium, within its technical apparatuses and within the three particular works, for contributions to the particular notion of ‘object love’ as drawn from a paper by Hilary Geoghegan and Alison Hess (2014). The author interprets the three video artists’ works with the aim of gleaning comparative examples that might illustrate or extend the ‘object love’ concept. Mathilde Roman’s book (2016) on the ‘staging’ of video art is an influence on the text, as are two short but profound statements by Walter Benjamin, one from his Theses on a Philosophy of History (1940), another from his essay on Surrealism (1929). History, ‘the past’, museology and ‘object love’ are all woven into the core of the article. As it moves towards its conclusion the author is inspired by the image of an empty, machine-made stocking (a classic symbol of Freudian fetishism) in Elizabeth Price’s video K, in such a way that the article ends by skewing both the idea of ‘object’, and that of ‘love’ in the direction of the fetish, while concluding that the past – just as much as any particular object from or of the past – tends to be subject to fetishisation. Meanwhile, video’s relative immateriality as an art medium, and its current use by artists, is seen as representative of an age of image-based archival practices that, assisted by digital technology, might now divert traditional, object-based processes of the museum – a shift that might be summed up in the phrase ‘screen becomes vitrine’. This shift, from vitrined objects to screened images might then, in turn, have implications for the ‘object love’ that initially interested Geoghegan and Hess and which began the author’s article and this dialogue with the Science Museum.

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/191209/001