Love the Role
The Telling of Beautiful Untrue Thangs or
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Role
Leigh Stevens, Justin Matherly, David Dempewolf, & Scott Rigby
2000, ICA, Philadelphia PA
2000, The Galleries at Moore, Philadlephia PA
2001, The Butcher Shop, Chicago IL
2003, International Arts Group Exposition, Portland OR
Love The Role was an interactive video installation that explored the nature of artist stereotypes and the ways in which they are perpetuated and exacerbated by popular culture.
We began work on this project by watching popular films in an effort to isolate specific moments that provide “insight” into what it means to be an artist. The leading actors we looked to as examples were Charlton Heston, Isabel Adjani, Leonardo Dicaprio, Nick Nolte and Rosanna Arquette, and Kirk Douglas.
This installation consisted of two color monitors which were placed side by side. Both monitors were synchronized; one screen played the original clips from movies that portray ÔHollywoodÕ depictions and expectations of artists, while the other screen displayed the Base Kamp members, acting out the same ‘Hollywood’ scenes in full costume and make-up.
These were shown along with the low-end digitally reproduced sets and props used in the making of the Base Kamp versions, and with amazon.com online reviews of the original films labeling each set.
Across the gallery, two black and white monitors sat side by side facing the ‘Lust for Life’ set. The monitor on left played a clip from the 1956 film over and over, in which the tortured Van Gogh contemplates suicide, scribbles out a desperate note, and finally shoots himself in the stomach. Gallery visitors were invited to interact with the set, while a surveillance camera aimed at the scene enabled them to view themselves on the right-side monitor. Watching themselves on-screen in the exact same situation as Kirk Douglas on the next monitor, the viewer can decide to follow his lead, or act out their own artistic fantasies.