Under Pressure ("Seat Assignment" project, 2010-ongoing)
Dimensions variable: approximately 30 x 45 inches
(Stanford, California, 1968 - )
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Two-channel video with custom frames and headphones
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of Jeanne and Michael Klein and Deborah and Andy Rappaport, 2017
Paradoxically, the airplane’s most cramped quarters have been the site for some of Nina Katchadourian’s most creative work. "Under Pressure" is one of three music videos that grew out of the "Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style" photo series, where the artist appears in improvised costumes made primarily with materials available in the airplane lavatory.
As the artist states:
"I was eager to challenge myself to do a performance that starts humorously but shifts to being genuinely moving. I decided to work with Freddie Mercury and David Bowie’s 1981 duet, “Under Pressure.” The title here alludes to the many kinds of pressure I’m under in the course of this project: time pressure, social pressure, creative pressure, and even cabin pressure. I’ve always loved the song for its arc, which starts very terse and controlled, moves to a middle section where the emotions spill over, and then ends with the song reining itself in again. I think of the interaction between the characters in my video as a lovers’ quarrel, with one character acting distant and cold as the other one begs to be given one more chance."