Moments of Affection

Hongisto, Ilona (2013): Moments of Affection. Jayce Salloum’s “everything and nothing” and the Thresholds of Witnessing. In Barrett, Estelle & Barbara Bolt (eds.) Carnal Knowledges. Towards a New Materialism in the Arts. London: I.B. Tauris, 105–112.

ONe of the most striking audiovisual forms one encounters in art galleries and museums today is the talking head. This seemingly blunt audiovisual composition is striking for at least two reasons. To start with, one is often perplexed by the presumed objectivity in the uses of the form: the visual frame is frequently used as a simple mediator of the experiences verbalized by the person in front of the camera. The relationship between testimonial speech and the talking head frame has become a pervasive ‘moment of truth’ recognizable across media, ranging from confessional videos posted online, television talk shows to video art. It is a relationship that alerts the viewer to bear witness to a significant testimonial moment.

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