Accepted paper:

Promiscuous images: censorship and collective authorship in the work of Érika Ordosgoitti


Lisa Blackmore (University of Leeds)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the work of Venezuelan artist Érika Ordosgoitti by showing how it uses performance, photography and online platforms to engage critically with notions of authority, authorship and the image.

Paper long abstract:

The authority of the art institution and the notion of authorship, traditionally legitimise art as a discourse of exceptionality and expertise whose value exceeds the realm of everyday communication. While in the twentieth century, performance, conceptualism and Institutional Critique posited critical approaches to the materiality and legitimation of art, today the Internet is used to produce and circulate art beyond its conventional remit. This context informs this paper's analysis of the work of Venezuelan artist Érika Ordosgoitti in order to focus on how it foregrounds issues of authorship and authority by using the Internet to make the work permeable to collective co-production and reproduction. Ordosgoitti's spontaneous naked appearances in urban spaces in Caracas and the photographic documentation of these actions that she publishes on her Facebook profile and blog, expose the work to external factors beyond the artist's control. Her body serves as a stimulus for controversy, comments and insults triggered by the photographs in order to stage a real-time demonstration of shifting and plural constructions of photographic meaning, which displaces authorship and the referent as the determining factors in establishing signification. Simultaneously, however, the work problematizes the idealization of the Internet as a permissive and horizontal platform by re-exhibiting the censorship of the photographs and highlighting its panoptical presence via automated algorithms that seek out nudity to erase it. In short, Ordosgoitti's work intentionally expands and contracts the conditions set out for apparently plural meanings to reveal power relations that converge on art, its circulation and reception.

panel P28
Latin American digital culture