Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not Propaganda, but Art with a Purpose

When new media pioneer Lynn Hershman Leeson makes art, it has a purpose, but that doesn’t make it propaganda.

In her interview with Miriam Kotzin in Per Contra, Lynn Hershman Leeson talks about a number of her works—including her feelings about her Roberta Breitmore performance. [The work was ended with an exorcism.]

“MK: You went to some trouble to establish a separate identity for Roberta; did you expect that the project would be as sustained and complex as it became?
LHL: Absolutely not. Had I known I don’t think I would have done it, but she needed the time to flesh herself out in the real world, and that took a good part of a decade.
MK: How did your relationship with that performance change over time?
LHL: It was more Zen-like as I watched things happen to her and understood more deeply the alienation that single women in our culture suffer from.”

The current project on which she is working is a documentary. She says, “The story is about freedom of speech, first amendment rights and the growing erosion of autonomy in our culture.” But based on the complexity of her other works, I’d wager that it’s not propaganda.


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