Parallel editing, multi-positionality and maximalism – cosmopolitan effects as explored in some art works by Melanie Jackson and Vivienne Dick

Rachel Garfield

University of reading


Garfield produces a critique of minimalist art practice by demonstrating how the artist Melanie Jackson’s Some things you are not allowed to send around the world (2003 and 2006) and the experimental film-maker Vivienne Dick’s Liberty’s booty (1980) – neither of which can be said to be about feeling ‘at home’ in the world, be it as a resident or as a nomad – examine global humanity through multi-positionality, excess and contingency, and thereby begin to articulate a new cosmopolitan relationship with the local – or, rather, with many different localities – in one and the same maximalist sweep of the work. ‘Maximalism’ in Garfield’s coinage signifies an excessive overloading (through editing, collage, and the sheer density of the range of the material) that enables the viewer to insert themselves into the narrative of the work. In the art of both Jackson and Dick Garfield detects a refusal to know or to judge the world; instead, there is an attempt to incorporate the complexities of its full range into the singular vision of the work, challenging the viewer to identify what is at stake.

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DOI: 10.5456/issn.5050-3679/2013s06rg

Keywords: Melanie Jackson, Vivienne Dick, cosmopolitanism, montage, minimalism, maximalism, video

Biographical note
Rachel Garfield is an artist whose work is engaged in portraiture in film and video, the role of lived relations in the formation of subjectivity and Jewish Identity. She lectures in Fine Art and the History of Art at the University of Reading.