Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau

Resentment, Contempt, Disgust: Status-emotions in Performance and Video

My research in performance and video will interrogate and expand the thinking around status relationships and negative emotions. Through my research I will develop the idea of ‘status-emotions’: performative feelings that constitute, maintain or change hierarchical relationships between people.

In practice this will mean experimenting with producing different status relationships between artworks and spectators, constructed through voiceover, editing, sound, and imagery in video; and through scripting, characterisation, staging and participation in performance. I will also re-evaluate historic art practices in the light of current debates, charting the history of performance and video artists who have made work with and about status relationships and negative emotions since the 1960s.

This research is conducted in a wider societal context in which negative emotions have become a powerful part of discourse in the public sphere. Resentment, contempt and disgust are all key emotions in contemporary political discourse, part of political-affective performances online on social media, as well as in newspapers and broadcast media.

Performance and video artists have long used status relationships to generate emotional states, but these are sometimes understood as secondary concerns. My research will place status-emotions at the heart of its investigation, shedding new light on the critical nature of these feelings and their application within performance and video art.