Anthea Behm: October 1-29

Submission, 2009
single channel hdv
10 minutes 23 seconds


The work starts with a monochrome & ends in a landscape.

In between there is an interview and a dance sequence, which are presented in parallel.

I am interested in looking at the boundary between art and entertainment. The questions in the interview are lifted from a Reality TV show application, but are answered using language drawn from art theory and politics. The dancing sequence could be seen as an audition video, but at the same time is the artwork. It is meant to be ambiguous what type of “show” this submission is for: television, art? Ultimately, it could be applied to both.

I am interested in the transmission of stereotypes relating to place, and how this affects social values and aspirations. For example, moving from the “provincial” to the “international centre”, which the art and the entertainment industry both highly value. This was dealt with in “Submission” through the contradictions that arise when talking about “needing to get out” and having a “significant life”, and is shown in direct relation to a pathetic action done in a location that is in a state of disrepair. It is also important that, although I was directly referencing the relationship between Australia and the U.S., it could be applied within the U.S. itself, or other cultural relationships.

Similarly, in terms of the verbal language and visual aesthetics, I wanted everything to be applicable. For example, the dance sequence could be referred to as “aesthetics of the relationship of body and space”, or “the contingencies of modern day structures” referring to broken debris being dislodged underfoot of the dancer. However at the same time, I wanted to reveal these notions as totally ridiculous, and critique how meaning is generated, mediated, and ultimately, unstable.

Sources for the script include: Andrea Fraser’s “May I Help You?” (1991), Obama’s speech from the Democratic Convention, August 28th 2008, Catherine Wood, “Art of Authenticity”, Artforum, Summer, 2008, Jacques Ranciere, “Art of the Possible”, Artforum, March, 2007, John Burger, “On the Problem of Autonomy of Art in Borgeoise Society” 1984, Terry Eagleton, “The Politics of Amnesia”, 2003, Paris’ BFF, Application (MTV). The song & dance routine sourced from the movie: “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”.


Anthea Behm is an emerging visual artist working with video, performance and photography. Through her practice she questions how forms belonging to both high and popular culture contribute to the dominant hegemony, and how this may be subverted. Recently, Behm received her MFA in studio art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and currently she is completing her MFA by research through the College of Fine Arts, Sydney. Recent awards include the 2009 New Work Grant, Australia Council for the Arts, and the 2007 Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship. In 2008, Behm’s paper on her work “The Chrissy Diaries” was published in Difference Reframed: Reflections on Art and Difference (ed. A. Kokoli, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, London, 2007), and her work has been reviewed in X-TRA, EXIT BOOK and Art and Australia. Forthcoming exhibitions include Dubbo Regional Gallery, NSW (solo) and Concertina Gallery, Chicago (two person). Behm currently lives and works in Chicago.