Hatch Twelve: Victoria Melody

Text: Wayne Burrows
Photography: Julian Hughes

Victoria Melody: Face Off

The unknowability of other people is also the theme of Victoria Melody’s Face Off, in which Melody dresses herself in an exaggeratedly professional manner – like a detective in some 1990s CSI style police drama on ITV – and works opposite her audience in a series of one-to-one performances. As each subject is closely scrutinised and watches Melody keying information into her laptop, Melody herself is busy piecing together a standard police photofit portrait of whoever happens to be seated directly in front of her.

The strange thing is that almost none of the portraits that result look very much like their subjects despite the fact that they’ve been made not from memory and verbal description, as photofits usually are, but from life. The questions raised about the usefulness of these systems are intriguing and Melody herself – when packing up her equipment later in the evening – agrees that it’s usually the hair that lets things down and hints (for the benefit of anyone considering a career in crime) that changing your hair-colour and style is generally a pretty effective disguise.

The gallery of portraits that accumulate during the day – each photofit pinned up on a bank of filing cabinets and a notice board, as they might be in a police station, but with an actual photograph side by side with the reconstruction – certainly offers more comic disparity than recognition. The other dimension of the performance, for those participating, lies in the fact of being so closely and intensely scrutinised for around ten minutes, suggesting that another vector of Melody’s thinking might have been a kind of parodic CSI revisiting of Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present, a sly send up of the high seriousness of certain strains of identity based live art and performance.


0 Responses to “Hatch Twelve: Victoria Melody”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.


%d bloggers like this: