Besideness: distance and proximity as queer disorientations to inhabit projective moving image installations

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Danilo Baraúna


This article explores the experience of disorientation within projective moving image installations through a case study of the artwork Swinguerra (2019) by Barbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca. The encounter with the case study evoked an experience of disorientation due to the confusing process of deciding which way to look, which room to enter, which side to walk towards in the art gallery. Engaging with music video aesthetics, this case study portrays Brazilian queer dance groups that work with popular music from the northeast of Brazil. Rather than representing these bodies, Wagner and de Burca speak nearby to them through a besideness attitude, allowing the dancers to speak for themselves in the film. Besideness comprehends an attitude that destabilises normative positionalities to challenge binarisms and hierarchies that can privilege the experience of some bodies to the detriment of others.

I employ a queer phenomenological and autoethnographic methodology to explore the fleeting disorientated moments that emerged in the live encounter with this artwork. This is to account for an analysis that considers self-narration and autobiographical notes of a queer researcher as queer methods appropriate to approaching disorientation as a queer affective experience. I argue that my physical and affective positionality in relation to the two projective moving images located in the art gallery affected the other bodies I shared the space with, leading to the necessity of also employing a besideness attitude and demonstrating how distance and proximity from objects can only be understood if in relation to each other.

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