University of Tasmania

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Karaoke : creating an intimate connection between artist and audience through popular music : an enquiry in performance and video

posted on 2023-05-27, 05:17 authored by Rees, SA
Employing the media of performance and video, this research project experimented with, and established methods of, creating an intimate connection between artist and audience within a public gallery space through harnessing the affective quality of music as defined by popular culture theorist, Lawrence Grossberg. In his 1997 collection of essays, Dancing in Spite of Myself, Grossberg identifies the difference between the effective and affective qualities of music. He states that while the lyric and cultural references within a song may create a specific effect, a song's power over us is just as frequently affective; that is to say, largely devoid of logical analysis and indefinably attached instead to an individual's personal history. Within this project, Grossberg's texts and the fiction and non-fiction writing of Nick Homby have been significant. Another key reference point was women's performance video of the 1970's, in particular I Say I Am, an anthology of this genre curated by Maria Troy and supported by her text on the subject. This genre of work was influential for the simple technical qualities inherent to the technologies of the period. A number of artists informed the research process: Bas Jan Ader, Gillian Wearing and Erwin Wurm are of importance on the basis of their straightforward approach to producing work by 'acting out', and their exploitation of the freedom that recorded performance allows. Works by Thomas Struth, Tony Oursler and Yuan Goang-Ming informed the technical experimentation of the research, and an understanding of their processes is evident in the body of work that supports the resulting thesis exhibition of four single channel video works. The project adopts the term Karaoke as its title to describe the performative process of 'acting-out' personal and cultural identities both within and via a musical space. This research project investigates artist/audience intimacy by exploiting the inherent inclusiveness of popular music. I have sought to engage my audience through simple, real-time performance video and video manipulation techniques. In addition, I have examined popular culture by focusing on my own emotional investment in its material and aural artefacts, thus making a contribution to current pop cultural dialogue and, through exploration of its techniques, adding to the collective body of knowledge in the field of video installation.


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  • Unpublished

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Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2005. Includes bibliographical references. Zipped DVDs unavailable for download due to copyright restrictions.

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