The spirits that I called… In her video work Lip Sync 2015, Julia Scher shines a light on the contradictory feelings that arise in the face of 21st century surveillance – from voluntary posing in front of the camera to the desperate and hopeless attempt to flee back into the private sphere.
Against the backdrop of an apparently unassuming office corridor, we become observers and witnesses of a deliberately amateurish performance of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball. Scher uses the verses and choruses as points of orientation, though her performance develops a narrative of its own. The work is part of a series of earlier works of the same name by the US-American artist. Unlike her earlier works, however, this video turns into a game of cat and mouse between the camera and the protagonist.
The home movie aesthetic gives the performance an intimate feel, yet the omnipresence of the viewer, embodied by the camera operator, punctures this privacy. We only catch fleeting glimpses of this camera operator, who stands in for the anonymous audience to whom the artist exposes herself. At the same time, the LED-illuminated everyday world of the office building removes the performance from the safety of the familiar environment that this kind of performance seems to demand. The apparently unassuming woman, who initially enthusiastically moves her lips and body in time with the music, soon begins to flee the camera. At first, she is brave enough to turn her back on her pursuer. Gradually, she sheds her naivety, becoming increasingly distrustful of the camera for which she had previously so willingly performed. An urgent reminder that the threat behind the camera often seems more harmless than it really is. (Marie Hunanyan)