Ashante K. Charles
Tuesday October 16th, 2018
Professor Am Schmidt
“Untitled Fall ‘95”
In Alex Bag’s videotape, her recordings where she narrates creates a series that forms into a documentation of her endeavors at the School of Visuals Arts in New York City. The narrative is communicated through her video camera since the subject is recording herself narrating her life. These sequence of videos are taken in a room, each different from one another, where Alex recounts each semester that she proceeds in. The lighting is very dull and the scenery is very simple, which makes it easy to focus on the subject. As the recording begins, Alex does not introduce herself, instead salutes and dives straight into her current endeavors at SVA.
I as the viewer can understand what type of narrative is being introduced through the visual cues, such as, the individual’s position in front of the camera, the distance from the camera and the fact she is unaccompanied. Other visual cues that are existent are the screen transitions between scenes, fading out in black and fading in, into the next scene. The video consists of long and short takes throughout the video, the shortcuts and several edits are used for the purpose of moving an object’s position or the camera range from the object, these shots only appear in the recordings she had made of her performance pieces, for instance, during her performance pieces of toys, Alex creates voice-overs in which she adjusts her pitch and tone for each character where she is also seen interacting with through the set. Alex also alternates between two versions of herself to portray two different people. Long camera shots are taken when she talks about her thoughts, opinions, and feelings that have surfaced in each semester she has reached at SVA.
The passage of time is thoroughly indicated and depicted through the course of the video visually, as each scene progresses. Video effects have a significant impact on content that is recorded, however, as Alex’s appearance changes over time, such as, clothing, hairstyle, surroundings and backdrop color these particular aspects mostly supported the illustration of the passage of time.
The type of narrative communicated is significant to how her story is presented, it is a personal topic that can only be communicated through her point of view. In order to document her years at SVA, she had to utilize this tool which is a significant device of communication.
Overall, Alex’s continuous series of performance work depicts the progress and her pieces evolving through each semester. This video is a documentation of Alex’s endeavors attending SVA and her pieces of work she had produced. We are taken into her journey of obstacles, experiences, and criticism. This whole documentation records herself attempting to strive as an SVA student, but most importantly pursuing as an artist, in the length of four years. Her documentary signifies her coming of age as an artist in the most competitive and overwhelming city, where she is inevitably faced against individuals who refuse to understand who she is and overcoming the odds. In her two last recordings, she is filled with doubt and the lack of confidence about her future after graduation which hinders her decision to proceed with her studies in graduate school.