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Althea Thauberger, Songstress (2002)
Althea Thauberger, Songstress (2002), video still
[Artspeak, Vancouver BC, Oct 19-Nov 23]

Althea Thauberger: “Songstress”

ARTSPEAK, Vancouver, BC
Oct 19-Nov 23

What happens when you take a singer/songstress out of the studio and videotape her as she lip-synchs in an outdoor location? In most cases, you get the kind of comfortable pop culture frequently seen on TV. But in Althea Thauberger’s production, the product is cultural critique.

The Victoria, BC filmmaker auditioned aspiring young female singers from the Victoria area, then recorded and looped their video performances together. The video goes beyond the superficiality of pop. References to screen tests, the folk ballad form and the music-video genre meet on Thauberger's mixing board together with highly-idealized settings and extremely personal emotions revealed by the songstresses. Like the singers, the cliff tops, lush forest glades and gardens appear almost as caricatures in their self-conscious romanticism.

Thauberger's earlier work similarly focused on new genres created by the broadcast media. This summer she collaborated with Milutin Gubash in a performance based on the “variety show” format. With performers solicited from a casting call in the local papers, they hosted a television show in a gallery, using a standard 3-camera studio set-up before a “live studio audience”. By deliberately applying the medium as message, Thauberger reveals and expands on our ideas of art and entertainment.

© Mia Johnson


 Tue, Sep 3, 2002