The Audience

2013 - present

The Audience is a photographic study of spectatorship. The series is made up of group portraits depicting audiences watching live performance. The term ‘performance’ in this context treads a wide cultural spectrum; what is ‘on stage’ is not explicit.

The strength of the collection lies in its many layers of reading. On a broader level, the project is an exploration into the phenomena of the audience, the collective as a singular organism (or not). What do we watch and does the presence of a spectator turn any live event into performance? 

The piece also functions as a contribution to the ongoing debate on the cultural value of performance. As a visual argument documenting the impact of the live experience, The Audience offers an alternative to the often opaque, unapproachable and unconvincing language used to defend the arts in a public sphere. It is difficult to sum up an experience in words. Let these images show you why the arts are important.

What do people look like when enraptured, focused, inspired and challenged; experiencing the macabre, catharsis, empathy; suspending disbelief, when they're repulsed? What is revealed when the camera is turned around to the frame that isn’t normally documented in performance? What does The Audience tell us about who is watching and what they are witnessing?

Jemima is looking for audiences to photograph and spaces to exhibit The Audience in 2015. Please make contact at jemimayongmeilien[at]gmail[dot]com for more information! 

Exhibited at:
Old Theatre Royal, Bath Fringe Festival 2013, co-curated by John East

Using Format