Core Seminar 2: Form And Innovation
January 29th, 2017
Response To Pipolotti Rist’s Open My Glade (Flatten)
Pipolotti Rist’s Open My Glade (Flatten) is a video installation appearing on 62 screens in Times Square in New York. Rist’s installation is January’s work for Midnight Moment, the longest running digital art exhibition in the world. The video works within the Midnight Moment run nightly from 11:57 pm to midnight. Open My Glade (Flatten) was originally commissioned by the Public Art Fund in 2000 and presented on a single screen in the center of Times Square. However, in 2017, the 62 synchronized screens in which the installation is presented show the artist pressing her face up against the glass as if to break through it.
Within Rist’s piece, the artist creates a commentary about women’s representation within the media. The interpretation of the installation changes drastically depending the year in which it is viewed. When viewed in 2000, the piece was without a doubt, ground breaking in its feminist nature. The artist’s unapologetic presentation of her face and body in ways unseen before in the public media, at that time, is shocking. The discussion surrounding the representation of women within the media is an on-going discourse, however, the piece was more successful in 2000 than in 2017. The decision to show the piece once again, with no changes other than the quantity of the screens in which the video is shown, does not do justice to the feminist movement.
The artist made it clear that she wished to comment on the representation of women within the media. However, the placement of the installation within a public space creates a distinction between the plural and the singular representation of women.
The artist presents her image as a representation of all women. The artist is not working with her personal experience and the media, she is commenting on the universal exclusion and sexualization of women within the media. However, The artist becomes a paradox as she misrepresents women, while trying to comment on the misrepresentation of women. This paradox that Rist unknowingly creates, brings into question the artists idea of oppression, misrepresentation, and women. The artist neglects modern intersectional feminism and therefore ignores her white, cis, and heterosexual privilege. Through her decision to use her image, rather than that of women who are truly misrepresented, Rist takes a place alongside her male oppressors. Instead of using her platform to create a broader, more inclusive definition of women, and portray their oppression and exclusion from the media, Rist presents the decade old epitome of white, privileged, outdated feminism.
In its time, the original 2000 Open my Glade (Flatten), was a chronicle of the mixture between the new age of technology and the reawakening of the feminist movement. However, the 2017 Open my Glade (Flatten) becomes a reminder of the appraisal of exclusionary white feminism, the psychological complexity of white privilege, and the refusal of white artists to focus on truly oppressed groups.
1“Open My Glade (Flatten)” by Pipilotti Rist on view in Times Square.” Archpaper.com. N.p., 17 Jan. 2017. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
2“Pipilotti Rist Takes Over Times Square (and the New Museum).” Hamptons Art Hub. N.p., 23 Jan. 2017. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.