Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)]

Talan Memmott

Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)]

Curators and art critics paint their own portraits of artists with text. In this piece, both painting and textual biography are subjected to the knife of the cut-up — a particularly suitable set of incisions given that the textual cut-up technique was first used by painter Brion Gysin. Memmott's juxtaposition reveals some of the different qualities of text and image but by making works and lives multiple it also provokes questions about how one medium is used to situate and frame the other.

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Author description: Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)] is a recombinant portrait and biography generator. The piece recombines the self-portraits of a dozen well-known painters as well as biographical text on each. Accordingly, the generated pictorial and textual portraits are no longer self portraits, but "selves" portraits, with subjects that are more than one. The piece deals with identity in an art-historical context, self-identity for any given artist, and identification as a process. There are over 120,000,000 possible recombinations.

Instructions: Scroll through the text to read it; click "next artist" to generate another portrait.

Previous publication: Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)] was published on The Iowa Review Web, April 2003.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.