We performed a double bill on Saturday 24th March at Chisenhale Dance Space. The tickets were sold out and there was a big crowd on the night, moving between the studio and theatre, and between pieces which interrupted and bled into one another. IYHII (The Night is Red) has emerged out of research on looping in a practice-based PhD. It magnifies and wormholes out of a small part of In Your Honour I (Live Shot) and interrogates what can emerge from the loop: pleasurable repetitions, queer imaginings, and exponential narratives.
We’ve been working in the studio looking at ways to find wormholes between different times through live copying gestures from film and producing films within films within films. This produces a collage and cut up effect which is jolting and decentering. I’m interested in how we might push this further- so that there are multiple framings and looping feeds happening simultaneously, and the effect this has on how we ‘feel’ the time of ‘now’. How can we make time felt as multiple?
In Your Honour is an ongoing project lasting a number of years where it pops up at events and is re-translated. In its current incarnation, images are built up in order for them to be ruptured and reordered. Operatic sirens, a diva, and riot grrrls, loop gestures and interrupt and bleed into one another. A pool of technicians mill across the performance/film set, and perform precise technical actions to produce a complex score.
These processes of image production are queered through interjections from an off-space where a parallel performance is taking place, and screens within the performance, which operate as wormholes into other time-places. In Your Honour‘s multiple temporalities, images, and framings produce alternative fictions, and unofficial histories.
In this project I am exploring the potential of looping in a performance practice. This includes looping as copying, recording, remediating and creating technological loops through live feed, recorded film and bodies in performance. I ask what might appear through these processes? How might looping operate as mining or excavating images for their alternative meanings or histories?
This sits within a wider context where we have become used to viewing images in non-sequential ways. Post-internet, we access images though scrolling, switching tabs, clicking on links in YouTube that appear like wormholes, and finding images and themes that return again and again through algorithm feeds. These developments in late-capitalist image-based culture open up new possibilities for what an image can do. I am particularly interested in the potential of post-internet strategies of looping in performance, for rupturing the construct of linear time and making multiple temporalities felt in the present.
I have been returning to certain images and exploring what appears when I put them through systems of looping. At this point in the project I am interested in exploring more deeply the images I use, and therefore what different histories and meanings they drag into the present.
I am also looking at how I loop back on my own practice differently. This involves re-translating and repurposing my work through different iterations in order to explore how meanings may accrue and coagulate through this process.
Sam McBean’s book Feminism’s Temporalities, looks at the queer temporalities of feminism. This is in contrast to a typical reading of feminism as generational and handed down through a matriarchal lineage. She brings up some interesting questions:
‘What happens to queer models of time and affect in our contemporary digital landscape?’
‘What happens, to queer ephemera (Munoz) in the digital age?’
‘How is time and its queerness mediated by this digital landscape?’
‘How is the past iterated through digital media – what does it feel like to touch the past online?’
There has been a lack of scholarly attention to the intersections of affect and technology. The digital era has made images become more ever present and immediate in our everyday lives and images are both simultaneously archived and ephemeral through the sheer multiplicity and ‘nowness’ of digital data. Through what ways can this sense of immediacy be queered?
McBean looks particularly at scholarly understandings of re-mediation, which looks at how new media refashions older media, and how old media can similarly re-mediate the digital. McBean argues that this process is queer, as it repudiates a progressual understanding of media signifying a line, from video, to digital film, books to e-books.
In addition, she argues that digital spaces can have an affective fabric, and this has a importance for understanding queer historiography. As facebook pages and online event pages, archive images of queer events, the desire to add to these and return to them suggests the desire to become part of the archive, a wanting to become historical.
Snow’s film focuses on the mechanics of the camera. The frame goes back and forth and up and down, and increases in speed so that the image becomes blurred and incomprehensible. It calls attention to the particularity of the camera frame and it’s techniques. We become aware of its limitations, it’s static and singular view point and what is cut out beyond the edges of the frame.
Joan Jonas, They Come To Us Without A Word (2015)
Reading for and writing my essay on 4 critical texts for the module M001 has been really helpful in defining my practice. I chose 4 performance works to critically analyze, which helped me to understand how I am engaging with the artistic field of my research. I chose to look at Can You Pause That For A Second (2003/2015), Tracy and The Plastics, Draw Without Looking (2013), Joan Jonas, Terra Nullius (2016), Shabnam Shabazi, and Shadowing Josephine (2016), Jade Monserrat.
These works use different strategies to produce a sense of time that is not normative, linear, causal or progressive. For example Greenwood’s work, uses ‘the pause’, Joan Jonas, a ‘distended temporality’, Monserrat’s work uses duration, and Shabazi, looks at using guerilla tactics within an official archive. I am thinking of how my practice and the strategies I am exploring in the studio expand the conversation and engage with the techniques these artists have developed.
At this time, my work is looking at using the strategies of experimental film, such as ‘the cut’, ‘the loop’ and ‘the jerk’ in live performance, to explore how spaces of performance can interrupt and rupture each other to produce a queer temporality and ignite queer feminist histories.
Reading Amelia Jones’s book Seeing Differently (2012), and Brian Massumi’s article ‘The Autonomy of Affect’ (2000), I have been thinking of what an interruption or ‘jerk’ in meaning-making can do.
Are there specific strategies that can be used to draw out the durationality of the work? Can we use ‘the jerk’ as a strategy to unknot a binary spatial logic of viewing?
I was one of 6 writers responding to performance art works across the festival. There were some exceptional pieces that made me think deeply about my own work, especially in relation to how they used different representational strategies as political activism.
I responded to these works in writing, Terra Nullius, Becoming ‘We are all made of stars’, Shadowing Josephine, and Echo/plasm. You can find this writing here.
I am one of a handful of writers picked to respond to the performances at Spill Festival 2016. The theme is en masse and the suggestion is that we explore ways of writing collaboratively and experiment with performative writing practices.
This is really helpful to me as writing critically and discursively is an area I would like to develop. Below are some thoughts I have going into the workshop and my hopes for what might emerge from it.
For me, en masse is a grouping of multiplicities where images, energies and desires can travel. I am intrigued by the routes this travelling can take. Reading Dominic Johnson’s ’The What, Where and When of Live art’, I feel invited to follow Peggy Phelan’s call for ‘performative writing’ to enact ’the affective force of the performance event again, as it plays itself out in an ongoing temporality made vivid by the psychic process of distortion’.
Johnson describes how Phelan wrote collaboratively with Deirdre Heddon, Helen Iball, and Rachel Zerihan to compare their experiences of three one-to-one performances they attended in one day. It makes me wonder how our Spill En Masse collection of writers can collaborate, and by doing so, in what multiple ways the mediated images from individual performances throughout Spill can travel.
I imagine that we may come from different backgrounds/practices, have been reading different texts that might be on the surface of our minds, we may have seen a piece of work that reminds us of other past works, and have multiple citations and images that may coalesce or differ from each other.
So, through writing collaboratively, I hope to de-habituate myself from the frameworks and perspectives that I am used to reading work, and travel down new paths.