Camera Austria International 115 | 2011
In an essay mapping tendencies in 1970s art, “Notes on the Index, Part 1”, Rosalind E. Krauss discusses the term “shifter” as a category of the linguistic sign waiting to be filled with signification: the word “this”, for example, or the personal pronouns “I” and “you”.1 The ambiguity of position in Lloyd’s work, in which the identity of the viewer seems to shift between “I” and “you”, exemplifies exactly the complicated “gymnastics of the ‘empty’ pronominal sign”2 discussed by Krauss. The fragments of imagery in the films are similarly shifting, not specific or locked into referentiality, as the vague titles of the works here suggest—“Shard”, “Moon”, “Tower Block”, “Shirt”—but nevertheless they insistently indicate a “this” that demands full attention. The identity of the building in “Canada Square” is not significant, nor is the location of the piece of pavement, but neither are they symbolic absolutes. The relentlessly swinging double self-portrait, and the barely focused-on high rise sketch out two possible perceptual poles of an individual’s (a body’s?) urban experience. While these may be analytical, examining the hardware of the city, they are also physical, corporeal events. The subject—body or building—is also an object, but perhaps more in the sense of the German word “Gegenstand”, literally translated as “that which stands against”. These objects are to be perceived in spatial terms, with their meaning determined by the surroundings to which they are intimately connected; they are not absolutes but thoroughly contingent entities.