title. what do you think of me?
dimensions. fullHD video, 16min
During an art residency in Turku, Finland, the Brazilian artist Kika Nicolela invites local people to shoot her with a camera and describe her in Finish. The artist subjects herself to the viewer's analysis, mediated through the visual and verbal observations of the people holding the camera. This video is part of the Distant Affitities series, which deals with cultural stereotypes and identity. Project support by the Sumu Art Residency and Titanik Gallery.
"The relational structure of What Do You Think Of Me? is derived not only from the interactions between artist and gallery goer, but also through the recording and replaying of these encounters for the viewer of the final work, which reanimates Nicolela’s original gesture of vulnerability. Although it is Nicolela who occupies the screen, her voice is rarely heard. Instead, it is those who wield the camera who contribute to the video’s defining narrative, and yet we cannot see her subjects as they speak. Nicolela does not employ familiar video tropes such as distortion, repetition, or delays to make the voices more enigmatic, but instead allows the limits of the medium to create an awkward imbalance between those who can speak and those who can only be seen. "
Arpi Kovacs and Gabrielle Moser, 'This is Uncomfortable', excerpt
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"An awkward smile, yet receptive body language was my initial reading of “What do you think of me?” (2009) by Kika Nicolela. I was drawn to the use of language in relation to colour and wanted to contextualize her work within a larger conversation around race and identity. “What do you think of me?” is the initiating and only question posed to gallery goers in Finland featured in the video. As these gallery goers hold the camera, they describe the artist, commenting in their native tongue; these responses are the first impressions of the gallery goers as they become active participants in the work. The result for the viewers of the video is a heightened awareness of the stakes of difference between the camera-wielding gallery goers and the artist as the former focus on the physical characteristics of the latter. Using descriptors such as ‘coffee’, ‘licorice hair’, ‘sunshine face’, and ‘carnival’, Finnish locals make assumptions about her cultural heritage and racialize her body—all this, due to the language barrier, is unbeknownst to the artist."
Johnson Ngo, Red, Green, Blue ≠ White, excerpt
performance :: Kika Nicolela
editing :: Kika Nicolela
in Finnish with English, French or Portuguese subtitles