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Performing Image by Isobel Harbison

Performing Image

Best Seller
Performing Image by Isobel Harbison
Hardcover $40.00
Apr 09, 2019 | ISBN 9780262039215

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  • Apr 09, 2019 | ISBN 9780262039215

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  • Apr 09, 2019 | ISBN 9780262350808

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“Art historian Isobel Harbison’s timely book Performing Image is an impressive feat, and required reading for anyone interested in the intersection of performance art and moving images. Beginning in the 1960s with Robert Rauschenberg and ending in recent years with Martine Syms, it focuses on a diverse group of artists and their responses to the growing pressures to “perform images”—that is, to transition from one’s physical self into one’s image (or imagined) self. […] So pertinent is Harbison’s writing to developing art paradigms that I wish her discussion would have expanded to other recent artists who are key to her subject, like Hito Steyerl, Trevor Paglen, Cao Fei, Ed Atkins, and Sondra Perry. Though, of course, this profusion of examples only confirms how necessary Performing Image is to contemporary art discourse. “
Performa, New York

“In examining the mutually dependent relationship between art and image, AM contributor Isobel Harbison’s timely intervention, Performing Image, 2019, promises an examination of how artists have combined performance and moving-image technology for decades, ‘anticipating our changing relations to images in the internet era’. Harbison focuses on the ways in which the combination of moving image and performance create both feelings of isolation or alienation and proximity within the context of the development of the internet, mobile broadband and smartphones, and how image production is co-evolving with social-media habits….Harbison explores the vacillation between distance and intimacy, that ‘strange intimacy that promises human contact while it lulls attention away’. Harbison suggests that there is something emancipatory about performance. With the classic ‘performing’ ‘insert noun here’ title, performance becomes capable of intervention and escape, where we can ‘intercept this performativity of images, to illuminate or trouble the repeated acts of image consumption-production-consumption that constitute and maintain a highly rigid regulatory frame that threatens to continue to precede and produce us.'”
Art Monthly

“O’Grady is just one of the artists discussed by Isobel Harbison in her impressive first book Performing Image, an analysis of how, over the past half century, performance and the moving image have been employed to add impact to works of art…[…] she writes in relatively accessible prose, and the chapters and main themes are laid out clearly, with almost forensic precision. Performing Image, which includes a comprehensive bibliography and footnotes, is an impressive contribution to understanding the art of our time.’”
Irish Arts Monthly

“In her new book, Performing Image (2019), Isobel Harbison explores how subjectivity is being formed through these circuits of image production, consumption and exchange, with contemporary digital culture being ‘vigorously inscribed, or encouraged, by technology capital’. Her prognosis begs the question of whether our drives are implanted in us by the images we are fed, and if so, how we might assert our position within them: ‘we perform the images that precede us, and, repeated, these performances congeal over time to produce the appearance of a substance, a system that regulates, disciplines, and divides us among others’.  Harbison’s use of the ‘prosumer’ analogy – where one is producer and consumer – is also useful. By following and photographing the performance, the viewer becomes a contracted partner, participating in a narrative of engagement that blurs the visual and the haptic. “
Burlington Magazine

“Isobel Harbison’s Performing Image is a timely contribution to the field of performance studies, as it appeals to the facets of the performing body and identity in our contemporary, image- centric mediascape. The book sets out a dual project: the first is to map a group of artists from  the 1970s to 2010s whose work has plumbed the meaning of images in relation to the body  and subjectivity; and the second is to meditate on how that work anticipates the imbrication  of performance and image in the contemporary attention economy defined by social media. The fulcrum of these two projects is the technological, cultural, and economic phenomenon of prosumerism: a “new mode of image production” in which the producers are also consumers (6). Through a “speculative genealogy” (4) Harbison argues that certain artistic works — that is, works of “performing image” — both anticipate and illuminate the cycle of consumption- production-consumption that defines the prosumerist logic of contemporary cultural practice.  This eponymous term, then, refers to images that negotiate, in a meta fashion, the meaning of images. It is through the study of such works that we might glean the subtle yet pervasive impulses to create, post, interface with, and — yes — perform images in and through new media. As such, Performing Image aptly resonates with and contributes to discourses on mediatized performance, digital corporeality, and performance on new and social media — among others… […] the notion of performing image is a provocative concept that strikes a chord of resonance with myriad issues in contemporary digital culture. It may be mobilized, for example, toward inquiries into digital spatio-temporalities, notions of new media as archive, questions of contemporary performer agency, surveillance, or neoliberal infiltrations of the performing body. In this way, Performing Image will prove to be a valuable addition to the performance studies bookshelf.”
The Drama Review

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