Hyperessay Key Work selection: Pull

Mona Hatoum Pull, 1995                                                                                                                                            live video performance and installation

My hyperessay will revolve around one of Mona Hatoum’s works, Pull(1995). Viewers are required to interact with her(in this case, a braided ponytail attached to her own hair) in order to get a live reaction on screen. The ponytail is made from Hatoum’s own hair, collected over 6 years. It is interesting how technology is used as a ‘screen’ between her and the viewer, a platform or information conveyor. It can interestingly be argued that without the role of technology, the piece is incomplete, even if both viewer and Hatoum are present.

This work also explores how technology can affect the human condition: Is she a real person, or merely a projection of someone on screen? Would viewers still pull her hair if there was no screen to separate them and Hatoum? The existence of technology in this case affects how viewers would think and react to the art.

In this case, viewers determine the outcome of the work. Tugging at her hair will result in a more drastic reaction from her, and not tugging at all will not trigger anything. The outcome of this work is therefore quite limited; Hatoum either reacts or not. However, if we take into account the viewers’ reactions, whether they will gasp or keep a straight face, stop tugging or mercilessly continue tugging; this further pushes the work into a collaborative-like nature.

Below are some related readings:

http://www.artnews.com/2015/08/21/making-the-ordinary-anything-but-mona-hatoum-on-her-unnerving-sculptures-in-2005/

https://www.varsity.co.uk/culture/9528

https://bombmagazine.org/articles/mona-hatoum/

 

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