Critical Writing Index

Losing It: Politics of the Other (Medium)

by Mieke Bal

Journal of Visual Culture, 2011, v. 10, no. 3, pp. 372-396

Finnish cinematographer Eija-Liisa Ahtila makes video installations of a particularly griping intensity, staging a contact zone for encounters with otherness. The article argues that this multiple otherness is crucial for the understanding of the way this artist uses a medium that is ostensibly visual to make environments that are political through encompassing engagements with otherness as other media.

In this essay, the author revisits Ahtila's best-known pieces in relation to an 'other' discourse: literature, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. In each, both the other media and the otherness of people take very different forms. In the last section, two works by other artists are discussed to make a case for a political potential inherent in the art form of video installation.

ITEM 2011.098 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Where is Where?Eija-Liisa Ahtila

The HouseEija-Liisa Ahtila

If 6 Was 9Eija-Liisa Ahtila

VideoStan Douglas

Maniac SummerChantal Akerman