For a moment between strangers
Melanie Manchot. For a moment between strangers, 2000.
In this video performance, I invite strangers on the street to give me a kiss, while recording their responses with a concealed video and sound camera. Over the course of one year I accumulated a collection of kisses from over 100 strangers, men and women, from a broad variety of cultures, social backgrounds and ages in different urban environments in various countries. Situated at the intersection of public space and private activity this work endeavours to ask whether moments of intimacy can occur between strangers in public, and whether the anonymity and phobia of urban space can be interrupted. Using the kiss as a metaphor for intimate exchange, the work questions what we are willing to give and to receive in a situation that might feel out of our initial control. Set up as a staged documentary, the video operates on the grounds of 'real life' yet perpetuates itself like an endless ritual, relating to our continuous search fuelled by fantasy and desire. By installing a video camera directly on my body in such a way that vision of the anticipated moment, in this case the moment of the kiss, is always withheld, the piece plays with the viewer's anticipation and invites their projection.
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