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Jochen Gerz «Purple Cross for absent now»
Jochen Gerz, «Purple Cross for absent now», 1980

 Jochen Gerz
«Purple Cross for absent now»

Jochen Gerz makes a closed-circuit performance out of the surveillance function of the video camera, i.e. the spatial separation between people/enclosed space and electronic image. A rubber rope is suspended diagonally between two corners of a square room. Two monitors are placed at right angles to the rope, and four black-light lamps in the axes. The monitors show the head of Jochen Gerz, around whose neck the other end of the rope is tied. The authenticity of the image, the live picture or recording can be verified only if the audience takes action. When the audience moves the rope, it physically tightens the noose round Gerz' neck, but sees this effect only through the mediation of the monitor image, since the circuit is 'closed' by Gerz in front of a video camera in a side-room. The spatial remoteness heightens the spectators' readiness to inflict harm, since the pain threshold of somebody's electronic image is estimated to be higher than that of someone sitting in the same room.