I don't know what I'm doing but I'm trying very hard


Juan Cruz
University of Edinburgh


Portfolio, Practice Based, film, exhibition


I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m trying very hard (IDKWIDBITVH) is the title of an ongoing series of short videos, between 30 seconds and 5 minutes in length, and commencing in June 2018. The videos are shot on the front-facing camera of an iPhone and each records a monologue spoken by the artist following the exertions of a run. The videos, which appear inverted and focus on the chest and neck area, are characterised by the breathlessness of the voice and the image of sweat-soaked t-shirts. There are to date approximately 100 videos in the series and they are designed to be exhibited as well as as to be made available through a digital repository.The work extends Cruz’s longstanding interest in the use of text within the context of visual art. It brings together an investigation of the place of the autobiographical and confessional within contemporary culture with inquiry into the existence of works of art within the digital ealm, as digital files with a contingent set of possibilities for their manifestation and exhibition. The videos reference a number of characteristics and approaches towards performance developed since the late 1960s, specifically by male artists (Acconci, Nauman, Jan Ader). The videos filter these approaches through the contemporary device of the front-facing smart phone camera, the construct of the selfie and attitudes towards physical fitness and self-improvement. Three of a series of 15 photographs, with which this project originated, were exhibited in Aarhus, Denmark, in a group exhibition, The Catalyst Experiment, 1–30 September 2017. The videos were subsequently exhibited in a solo exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, London (8–16 September 2018), a group exhibition, DataLoam, Vienna (26 February – 8 March 2019) and through an online exhibition at MattFlix, Matt’s Gallery, 2020.They have also been presented at guest lectures at the Royal College of Art, London, CAFA, Beijing and the West Bund Art & Design Fair in Shanghai.

Supporting Agencies:


Download data is not yet available.



28 May 2024


Additional Copyright Information:

All text in this portfolio is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. This means you are free to share and adapt this content provided you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. All images in this portfolio are All Rights Reserved. This means the authors retain copyright over original work and it is not permitted to copy or redistribute these images.


Creative Commons License

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