Lynn Hershman Leeson - America's Finest

Looking through the sight of the gun and pulling the trigger, the user is bombarded with scenes of historical atrocities superimposed onto their own image, captured with an external camera. The M16 is the gun used by 'America's Finest' in some of the most controversial recent US conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq).

The version at FACT is the original prototype exhibited at Video Positive 95, on loan from the permanent collection of ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe). Between 1990 and 1993 Hershman developed four different versions of the piece. Since then, all of these versions have been continuously upgraded and adapted to new exhibition and technical needs: ie new electronics, updated software, etc. America's Finest still uses most of its original components.

Lynn Hershmann has received international acclaim for her interactive work, films, photography and, which explore issues of identity, truth and gender in the communications era. Her work is in the collections of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, as well as many other prestigious private collections. Autonomous Agents: The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman Leeson is on view at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester from 15 September to 12 December, 2007.


Under the title Life Squared, Hershman's work is currently being archived into Second Life, as an exploration into new ways of archiving, "away from traditional forms of viewing… accessible beyond a library system, using digital media to make it non geographic, to allow it to be reinterpreted. Archives derived from past materials, but digitally relocated, became the content for a 'meta-archive', facilitating deeper analysis, investigation and exploration of the original work." (Lynn Hershman)

Life Squared represents around 30 years of creative work by Lynn Hershman, currently at an archive at Stanford University; the project is funded by the Daniel Langlois Foundation.

Interactive installation, Video Positive 95, UK Premiere, Tate Liverpool