Self-Representation as a Marginal Subject: Identity, Displacement and Identification between Cinema and Visual Arts

Laura Busetta


In the context of cinema and visual arts, contemporary installations and digital projects, there is a growing interest in the aesthetic transformation of control images, traditionally used in crime prevention, for military use, or as recognition techniques in the context of police and legal services. Borrowing some symbolic aspects of such procedures, numerous artists have recently reworked some of the same tropes to redefine the representation of the migrant, the refugee, the illegal citizen, the subject at the margins, or the outcast, critically reading the related stereotypes and formulas. They range from the ironic staging of processes of identification (Self Portrait, Mekas 1980), to the denial of the somatic coherence of the individual (The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan, Orlan 1990-93), to the use of passports in self-portraits (Daniel Isaac Spoerri-Feinstein, Spoerri 1977), to the commercialization of one’s own body in order to gain civil rights and citizenship (Looking for a Husband with an EU Passport, Ostojić 2000-05). Against this backdrop, this contribution focuses on the aesthetic use of identification and control techniques within a contemporary visual context, crucial not only for understanding the more recent forms of life-writing but also for rethinking identity in a historical and cultural perspective.


Self-representation; Life writing; Displacement; Visual art; Body

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/9598


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Laura Busetta

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.