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IntroductionClick here to Print this Page

For artists exploring the formal characteristics of the film and video medium, using themselves in their work is motivated by the pragmatic need for a figure in the frame. This is the case in David Critchley's video Zeno Reaches Zero, in which the artist takes on the role of a counting head in his exploration of a mathematical conundrum. For others, such as the video artist Grace Ndiritu, using her own body is a very conscious and political choice. Her performances explore the body's role as a site of cultural and national identity, focusing on the exploitation of Third World countries in the age of globalisation.

The self portrait mode also becomes a means for the artist to confront painful truths and memories in front of the camera. In her film Almost Out, Jayne Parker and her mother confront each other in the edit suite, both naked. Viewing each other through the monitors in the edit suite, the video medium becomes a form of filter or situation which allows Parker and her mother to communicate in a different way. Inspired by Parker's film, Sarah Pucill's poignant Taking My Skin puts the film camera in the hands of her mother, so that a dialogue is set up between mother and daughter through the filming process, as each sees the other afresh through the lens of the camera. By contrast, Ian Breakwell strikes a humorous note in his wry observations of life in Ian Breakwell's Continous Diary. Filmed for television broadcast, Breakwell takes on the role of television presenter as he addresses his daily observations of the world around him to the audience.

Still from Guerrillere Talks

Zeno reaches Zero

This was the first single monitor piece I made which could only have been realised on video.

Still from The Nightingale

The Nightingale

The Nightingale is a powerful video concerned with projected identity and miscommunication.

Still from Some Friends (Apart)

Ian Breakwell's Continuous Diary

Televisual diary entries celebrating observations on the 'side events of daily life'.

Still from Some Friends (Apart)


In 'Nostalgia', I juxtaposed sequences of myself dancing in 1940s dress with photographs of my mother, Pamela Brendon, dancing with a wartime lover who was not my father.

Still Gallivant

Almost Out

Almost Out is a confrontation/statement with fragments of dialogue between a mother, a daughter and a cameraman.

Taking My Skin

Taking My Skin

I'm not aware of you taking my skin, says the artist's mother to the camera as it zooms in on her eye as close as the lens will allow.

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