Solo performance 2003 – 2006

SlippageSlippage is a vehicle; the work is to track the developing hybrid, which will grow from the many local, national and international performances of Slippage. These performances are structured to change and respond to each encounter I have with the place I visit through a direct and practical collaboration with the specific place.

It started as a simple response to a postcard image – which has often been the way I work, to bring to life, to action, a still moment. For some time I have been fascinated by a particular image, It is a still from the 1930’s Cocteau movie La Sang d’un Poete, I had never seen the movie but once I decided to use it as the starting point for a piece of work I found the film and spent some time trying to locate the moment captured in the postcard. It took a lot of time because the actual moment in the film is very fast almost too fast to catch on video. Everything I understood from the still was different in motion, the person in the image was a man not a women, they were going in and not coming out of the frame and the liquid exploding from the frame was paint not water. This set up a whole series of questions about my perceptions of time, movement, space and what is fixed and what is not.

The work became concerned with the literal slippage between body and space and image and sound and how when this happens the viewer finds themselves in a place ‘in between’, a liminal space which is then open to all sorts of ‘readings’ and narratives…

What I am working with is:

  • The framed image – coloured slides (through an ancient projector)
  • The moving body (mine)
  • Sound landscapes (manipulated found sound)

The fact that the slide is a still / captured moment but yet the body is a moving and freer material is an important tension for me. When they meet and connect there is no longer a clear separation, in that moment something very interesting happens, in a way they collide, the slide becomes fluid and the body becomes fixed.

The sound (which at the moment is used in pure juxtaposition to the action and has been chosen for the space it creates) binds the work, it is the glue, it allows the brain to begin to construct small narratives, but does not give enough structure to fix the stories, it allows the material to remain fluid.

The relationship between the three materials chosen is the crux of the work, it is how they are chosen, and then balanced and honed down which will create the hybrid I am searching for.

The chosen structure for the work is the idea of the frame, something we all recognize yet the way I am using it is no longer fixed in 2D, the image escapes through the body, by being seen to step in and out of the frame. I like the tension of trying to contain the image in the frame through the slide machine, being able to switch the image off and on, creating as if by magic a picture through light that can disappear or be transformed in any moment of time.

Back to basics, a technology that can be understood by the eye but confuses the perception.

SlippageI have been working on the ‘event’ since September 2003. In that time it has gone through three major transformations. The first performance was in Montreal where I presented the work very simply – myself and 20 slides and a soundtrack working alongside each other.

By winter when I performed it in England, the Canadian slides had taken the place of some English ones, and a journey of memory had begun – also I added a action involving pouring water over my head which cut across the memory into the absolute present moment of live performance.This performance then travelled to Norway where from conversations there, I decided to add text. (See above)

In summer 2004 I took Slippage to France, where I had a week to develop my ideas as part of a collaborative artists meeting. Straight after that I was commissioned to be part of a residency at a gallery in Cambridge – where I was collaborating with 2 artists on a durational work over 4 days using the slippage material. This completely challenged the 20-minute time frame and therefore my relationship to the space and place. It became a durational work that was open for 5 hours a day. Since then I have performed the work, but each time changing and rearranging the slides and thus the responses. I have not performed slippage now for awhile but am considering returning to it, maybe this time with different technology!