Sean Grattan

Carmen San Diego: Out Of Work And On The Run (2011)

10 min 16 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

"Carmen San Diego: Out Of Work And On The Run reimagines the 1980s educational computer game character as a fugitive of the law who has been cast out from her gang of thieves, driven to philosophical musings about her career as the preeminent cultural consumer/plunderer. As the recession bites into everyone’s profits, the globe trotting criminal mastermind is having second thoughts about her role in legitimizing the vampiric tourism industry.

The video has the veneer of an action movie but sounds like a lecture, with the characters engaged in an uncomfortably didactic discussion of ideas, while the stylised performances are destabilised from the categories they activate. Distanciation pushes the scripted dialogue to the surface of the video, metaphorically referencing the existential conflict that haunts humans, tourists of life, where authenticity is always compromised or negotiated. A path through the dilemma is suggested through reference to Emmanuel Levinas’ theorizing about the human face as the site for ethics.

This video opened a new path of investigation for Grattan, where scripted dialogue is more blatantly set against the performance requirements that arise from the use of genre. Words are employed to specifically detail ideas and subjects for the purpose of public debate, along with the parallel analysis of the art object at hand."

Artist's statement

Other works by Sean Grattan

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