The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson
Secret Agents, Private I
Publication Year: 2005
Hershman Leeson's work explores vision, spectatorship, and the construction of sexed subjectivity, touching on key feminist concerns relating to the lived experience of the physical body and the body as a medium on which social law and values are inscribed. Her projects of self-analysis and self mythification explode stable notions of identity. The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson demonstrates how Hershman Leeson's work uniquely mirrors fragmented human subjectivity at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Especially useful are the artist's updated chronology and a DVD with excerpts from several of her works.
Copub: Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Notes
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For thirty-five years, the San Francisco artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has ex-plored the relationship of spectatorship to identity.1 A pioneer of “new media” art, she has in-troduced technological innovations in her work since the 1970s; her achievements in this fieldinclude one of the first interactive artworks on videodisc, the forerunner of the DVD (Lorna,1983–84); the first artwork to use a touch-screen interface (Deep Contact, 1984–89); one of the...
Introduction: Breaking the Code
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This book offers the first sustained critical attention to the art of Lynn Hershman. Hershmanis a highly regarded personage who rightly figures in any comprehensive history of Amer-ican art of the past thirty years or so. Numerous solo and group exhibition catalogues presentsubstantial commentary on her art; articles on her work that have appeared in diverse jour-nals and periodicals can be readily gathered or assimilated; and several recent books on fem-...
Private I: An Investigator’s Timeline
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According to a national database, there are several people in the United States named LynnHershman. For example, Lynn Hershman was born November 14, 1949, in Connecticut anddied February 19, 1976. Lynn Hershman also lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California; Man-Simultaneously with compiling this book, I hired Jayson Wechter, a licensed private eye,to excavate as many public records as possible about Lynn Hershman. I wanted to determine...
Roberta Breitmore Lives On
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I never met Roberta in person, but she seems as “real” to me as those performers I’ve seenin the flesh—Annie Sprinkle, Tim Miller, Karen Finley, and others. Roberta’s vivacity—herconnectedness to what philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty has called the flesh of the world—keeps her alive as an embodied trope of the hinge between live art and its postmodern vari-ations in the culture of simulation. Roberta enacts what Merleau-Ponty calls “the reversibil-...
Composing with Images: Lynn Hershman’s Photography
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Image manipulation has accompanied photography throughout its history as the repressed accompanies consciousness. In 1839 Daguerre announced that the daguerreotype “is a chemical and physical process which gives [nature] the power to reproduce herself.”1 Every subsequent claim for photography’s objectivity reproduces Daguerre’s assertion. What the camera sees is true. That same year Hippolyte Bayard—who had invented a rival photographic ...
Conscientious Objectification: Lynn Hershman’s Paranoid Mirror
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In more than two decades of artistic production embracing a spectacular range of media (fromperformance to ceramics; from manipulated photography to interactive video installation),Lynn Hershman has explored continuously the complex relations between looking, beinglooked at, gender, and subjectivity. Such a preoccupation is hardly surprising; for an artist deal-ing with technologies of vision, spectacle, and spectatorship, the political as well as psychic...
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When discussing her interactive video installation Room of One’s Own (1990–93), Lynn Hersh-man readily acknowledges its ancestry in Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope, invented in 1891.1Better known as the “peep show,” the kinescope may, to paraphrase Olivier Kaeppelin, bethought of as theater that embodies the solitude at the core of our relationships with one an-other.2 In Hershman’s videotapes, we encounter this theater of solitude once again....
Lynn Hershman: The Subject of Autobiography
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Lynn Hershman’s The Electronic Diaries (1986–) was a crucial breakthrough for her own ca-reer as an artist and indeed for artists’ video generally. A summary restatement of many ofthe concerns of feminist video of the previous decade and a half, it turned out to be an immensely fertile matrix that quickly generated a series of further tapes—Longshot (1989), Desire Inc. (1990), Seeing Is Believing (1991), and Conspiracy of Silence (1991)—elab-...
My Other, My Self: Lynn Hershman and the Reinvention of the Golem
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At first glance, it would appear that the 1970s feminist art world has been the animating influencefor Lynn Hershman’s oeuvre of performance work, video art, and feature films. After all, thatinfluence is inscribed in such recurring details as her heroic female protagonists, the always-evident female mastery of technology, her use of confession as a central cathartic trope, andher insistence on airing the personal ill for the public good. But that would be an insufficient...
A Cinema of Intelligent Agents: Conceiving Ada and Teknolust
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Although he voiced disdain for female scientists, Albert Einstein acknowledged that NobelPrize winner Marie Curie was a rare exception, a creative woman. He quickly reassured hissecond wife, Elsa, however, that this unique woman posed no romantic threat to their mar-riage. Curie, he said, “has sparkling intelligence but, despite her passionate nature, is not at-tractive enough to be a danger to anyone.” Frau Einstein replied with confidence, “She has...
Romancing the Anti-body: Lust and Longing in (Cyber)space
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The pretense of being another person, or even several other people, is a precondition of elec-tronic access; an identity is the first thing you create when you log onto an Internet service.Masks and self-disclosures are part of the grammar of cyberspace, part of the syntax of com-puter-mediated identity. In cyberspace, “one” can manifest multiple, simultaneous identitiesthat abridge and dislocate gender and age. Yet these masking devices are like thumbprints or...
Animating the Network
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We all like to make a narrative out of our past, as if it could provide a trajectory for our fu-ture. After more than thirty years of exceptional—literally—artwork, there is a well-wornnarrative trajectory to the career of Lynn Hershman, from the pharisee curators who wouldnot allow sound into the temple of art to the first site-specific artwork at the Dante Hotel, tothe Roberta Breitmore “performance,” to the revelation of video and Hershman’s video rev-...
Double Talk: The Counterstory of Lynn Hershman
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Once Lynn Hershman hit upon her story, she stuck to it—the story of a body with moreminds than it knows what to do with or of a mind manifesting through several bodies. Timeafter time, her tale of multiplicity unfolds, resolves, and concludes, only to return in a newform with the next wave of work. The tributary themes of her work—memory, voyeurism,surveillance, seduction, and authenticity—flow from the condition of multiplicity. How can...
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When I think of the time, care, and help that has been given to this book project, words areinadequate to convey my gratitude. So I will simply say thank you, Lynn Hershman, for yourwork. Thank you, Moira Roth, for instigating my involvement in this project. Thank you,contributors, for your texts, and thank you, Kyle Stephan, for your comments. Thank you,Stephanie Fay and colleagues at the University of California Press for making the book hap-...
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List of Illustrations
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Contents of DVD
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...1973–74, INSTALLATION WITH INDIGENOUS OBJECTS. PHOTO: EDMUND SHEAPLATE 3 | ROBERTA’S CONSTRUCTION CHART #2 (ROBERTA BREITMORE SERIES)BONWIT TELLER DEPARTMENT STORE, NEW YORK, 1976, MANNEQUINS AND WINDOW1990–93, INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION IN COLLABORATION WITH SARA ROBERTS1990–93, INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION IN COLLABORATION WITH SARA ROBERTS...
Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2005