Call my Name! A Portrait as Dialogue in the context of the Kelabit's name system


Journal of Visual Art Practice

Oxford: Routledge, 2015, 1-10

‘Portrait as Dialogue’ is a practice-based study of forms of individual representation. It is both, a series of art works and a collection of forms of human representation. The experiments draw attention to the fact that besides the Western tradition of ‘portrayal’ a rich potential of representational means exists – a potential which remains largely unperceived as such, and therefore unexplored. The art works propose a different view of ‘portrayal’ – in a very wide, as well as a very specific sense of the term – strategically by ‘looking’ at myself through the ‘eyes of the other.’ The role of the artist as the sole performer and the status of the researcher as an outside observer are overturned in this dialogue of representation. ‘Name Me,’ the detail described here, focuses on the designation and change of name among the Kelabit, an indigenous population in central Borneo. Their name system as well as the (formerly practiced) system of their neighbors, the Penan, is presented in this context.