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Peter Weibel «Crucifixion of the Identity»
Peter Weibel, «Crucifixion of the Identity», 1973
Photograph: Valie Export | © Peter Weibel

 Peter Weibel
«Crucifixion of the Identity»

A video camera and two electro-optical circuits are mounted on a cross lined with black sandpaper. At the point of intersection between the two planks is a monitor. The mounts a platform that is likewise lined with black sandpaper. The camera will start up if the visitor stands exactly in the centre point of an iron cross fixed to the platform and stretches out his arms – for then his body forms a cross, too. The outstretched arms interrupt the light-beams emitted by the two circuits (possessing selenium cells) installed to the right and left of the monitor. Once activated in this way, the camera transfers an image to the monitor. Thus, the viewer sees himself only in the shape of a cross inside a cross – otherwise the screen remains blank.
The cross is the most basic symbol of Western culture. It symbolizes a transfer of identity: from God the Father – Son – human; Jesus Christ died on behalf of us all, and so on. The cross is the price humankind pays to find a personal identity, i.e. to visually recognize oneself in an image.


Peter Weibel