Staging private life and letting it surface: The cases of Laurie Anderson and Penny Lane’s personal film-essays

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Abstract

This paper aims to analyze expressions of the self in personal
film-essays and how the characteristics of audiovisual media, by
altering our perception of time and enabling new strategies for
staging and editing the presented self, are linked to a redefinition
of experience, the actually lived life and its rhythms.
I argue that private life vestiges that emerge covertly from a film
work are important triggers for the connection between authors
and spectators. This recalls that, as Agamben (2014) puts it, it
‘is in the incommunicable and almost ridiculous clandestinity of
private life’ where its ‘genuinely political element’ can be found.
Analyzing the film-essays Heart of a Dog (2015a), by Laurie
Anderson, and The Voyagers, by Penny Lane (2010b), I will
consider their strategies for staging the private thereby
addressing and relating with the spectators’ subjectivities by
evoking the importance of personal narratives in contrast to
standardized public stories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages10
JournalRevista de História da Arte Série W
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Private life
  • Film-essay
  • Experience
  • Rhythm
  • Personal narratives

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