Contingent Audiences

Contingent Audiences is an on-going filmic project that incorporates a process of surveys and training for the audience in preparation for the viewing of the video component of the work.

The first part – “The Story of D” – is comprised of a short story, surveys, and two videos, one for “insiders” and one for “outsiders”. Each video is about eight minutes. Performed by Oscar Alvarez and Lior Shamriz.

How can we, artists, makers, players embody our in-flux relationship with geography and community within our transitory lives, particularly when we try to navigate contradictions between our being-in-the-world and funding and distribution institutions?

Films create a series of happenings, in the places where they are made and in the places where they are shown. CONTINGENT AUDIENCES came about from finding myself at a crossroad, trying to figure out questions regarding audience and community after immigrating to US and being uncertain which are the communities I’m making films with and which might be the ones I’m making films for. Between fostering a counterpublics framework to forging a semblance of one, audiences become rather a fragmented collection of people I care about, via different levels of intimacy and tempo-geographical proximity. This project channels the communal fragmentation and folds it into the work itself, approaching the filmic experience not as a self-contained video that is contextualized through its distribution in festivals or art galleries or academia, but as a film that is ‘spread horizontally’ in a process that fosters and forges ‘the’ audience.

There are two videos. Participants receive a link to one of the two videos after filling up a questionnaire, and the video they get depends on how they answer it. The questionnaire has three parts. The first part tries to figure out what’s the sociopolitical affiliation of the ‘audience candidate’ and whether they should be defined as an ‘insider’ or as an ‘outsider’. The second part aims to indoctrinate my audience in their relationship to film funding and distribution institutions through a few questions that are worded in a manipulative way. The third part asks you to read or listen to a story and then makes sure that you did. The story is there to give the audience a shared ‘path’ into the videos, a sort of ‘shared mythology’ that all the audience members can have.

The two versions have some diffusion between them and sharing information or screen-grabs is encouraged. No audience is complete without the other – the insiders need the outsiders and vice versa.