Panel: Emotion Studies in a Contemporary Art Debate
Frustration is one of a small collection of emotional states that is as easily accessible in interaction with technology as it is in interaction with humans. Presented here is work-in-progress audio and video documentation of several artistic experiments, collectively called “Umbrage”, that are being produced between 14 January, 2011 and 14 January, 2012. “Umbrage” is a curatorial project conceived by four Massachusetts (US) based artist-curators in subtle response to the American media’s focus on bullying in schools after a teenager from the region committed suicide (on 14 January, 2010.) Its aim is creative, critical exploration of the famous frustration-aggression theory (Dollard et al, 1939,) focusing in particular on the type of digital interfaces that are intended as an intermediary step to live customer service in commercial interactions. The frustration-aggression hypothesis’ main principal—that personal experiences of frustration are the direct cause of the kind of targeted aggressive behavior known as scapegoating—is creatively tested and observed within obviously constructed, but still familiar contexts. These works were commissioned out of an impulse to talk about the displacement of collective frustration and the recycling of aggression in the mundane activities of capitalist culture, but have begun, halfway through their duration, to become an interesting commentary on what the individual experience of frustration can teach about human-machine relationships, and where feeling lies within them.
- Heather Kapplow is a media, performance and installation artist, living in the United States. Her artistic focus is on the formal characteristics and textures of digital media, and on investigating very simple philosophical questions about the workings of daily life through performance. These investigations are generally playful, requiring audiences to be active agents in the exploration and art-creation process. Kapplow’s video projects are of low resolution and short. Her work has received government and private grants, and has been included in film and performance festivals in the US, Finland, and China. She also engages in curatorial work/runs an artist residency program with a collective known as the Berwick Research Institute. Professionally, Kapplow works full time in public television as managing editor for a website that showcases the work of emerging documentary filmmakers.
Full text (PDF) p. 1316-1322