Public Reason: Vol. 12, No. 1, 2020
Identification and Resistance. Strategies of Subjectivation in the Early Works of VALIE EXPORT
Diana Bulzan

In the following article, I would like to discuss three works of VALIE EXPORT, namely Ping Pong (1968), I Am Beaten (1973), and Movement Imaginations (1974-75), as portraying different strategies of constituting subjects and as entering into dialogue with different theories of subjectification. Thus, I will argue that the relation between viewer and screen that is presented in Ping Pong lays bare an understanding of cinema as an ideological apparatus at the core of which we find an intricate connection between the constitution of subjectivity and ideological interpellation. Furthermore, the same process is underscored in I Am Beaten, which portrays a process of identification where we can read an understanding of subjectivity as subjection. Lastly, I will argue that, in contrast, in Movement Imaginations, we can distinguish a focus on resistance and on the body’s capacity for endurance, starting from which we can begin to trace a different understanding of subjectivation, neither as ideological interpellation nor as subjection, but as an assertion of a radical equality. However, while Movement Imaginations depicts this search for resistance in active terms, the search for possible paths of emancipation and resistance is present in the other two as well, at first in Ping Pong as the denunciation of a closed path and, secondly, in I Am Beaten as a refusal. In this way, the question that runs through the text is the search for possible modalities of resistance in the artistic practice around 1968, which will also take into account the role of media technologies and the constitution of a regime of visibility.

Keywords: VALIE EXPORT, cinema, subjectivity, ideology, apparatus, Rancière, Butler, Althusser.


Bulzan, Diana. 2020. Identification and Resistance. Strategies of Subjectivation in the Early Works of VALIE EXPORT.Public Reason 12 (1): 19-32.