Barbara Rosenthal

Push Me (2011) DVD, color, 6.5 min

Over Rosenthal's stationary nude torso, single words scroll upwards in vertical columns at increasing speed, as she recites them in voice-over. A powerful experimental short about what people do to each other. Premiered Oct 2010 when Barbara Rosenthal represented the U.S. in Performance Art and Text-Based Art at Tina B: Prague Contemporary Art Festival.
"Like most of my work, this piece began in my Journal as an observation of an event. "Someone bumped into me hard today. I said 'Excuse me' to them. As usual." The next step also often happens: an insight. "Goddamn it! I always let myself get pushed around. I always apologize for being in the way. I never push back. I only just always wonder at it." And next, an idea came for the piece! I first envisioned it as pressure activated Button Pins, with my recoded voice saying "Push Me" when a viewer pushed one. It would be kind of fun, like a kid's street game. I had seen touch-on recording technology, so I searched online and found I could buy 2,000 "Doll Recorders" from China. But needing 20 at most, I thought of just sitting in a black leotard, or maybe nude, and having a CD play the audio, instead. More words occurred to me. Little by little, as Life pushed me around some more, the brutality of the piece evolved. Rocky relationships found their way into it, and my dramatic police arrest and incarceration on bogus charges (eventually dismissed). For three months, the words came on their own into my mind in the order you see them. I videoed my rehearsals for a live, naked performance, but then video became its medium. I always let my artwork tell me how to make it. --Barbara Rosenthal. Catalogue statement, Tina-B: The Prague Contemporary Art Festival, 2010, at which this video premiered.

DVD NTSC Sale: $285 (limited edition dvd)

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