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No Strings Attached

This week we were back in the studios for the first time since lockdown! So our first brief was called 'No Strings Attached'. It was aimed at getting us reconnected with the studio space, allowing us to freely play without having to think too much about the contexts we find key to our usual practice. I wanted to think about how my physical body could become reconnected with the space, how it fills the space, interacts and moves about within it, how they exist together and independently. I decided it was best to just throw myself into playing rather than thinking too much about what to create because it was such a strange and exciting thing to be back, to the point where I almost felt afraid of the blank walls and possibilities, much like staring at a blank piece of paper.

As I messed about in the space I realised that I wasn't coming up with anything even mildly new or interesting, but it had warmed me up to the space and attitude of making a little more. I decided to pull up a desk and right down some ideas, eventually rather than actually using any of these ideas, I created the little experimental video shown below. It aims to display the blankness of re-entering the space, the lost for good ideas feeling and the struggle of getting those creative juices flowing. These are things that I felt the most within the space and thought it would be silly not to take some inspiration from that feeling the space induces. However, I decided to return back to the physical body rather than continue with the mental space.


The Thing from 'The Addam's Family'

Next, I decided to experiment with the idea of literally moving physically into the space. I played with using 'dismembered' moving body parts creeping into both the studio space and the digital space of the screen dimensions. I messed around with a makeshift mini greenscreen using painted paper and my phone camera. I then editted it on Premiere Pro to overlap the videos and create a teaming mass of independent body parts exploring the space. Although the quality could be greatly improved upon, this was a fun experiment to make and the body parts have a comic strangeness, a little like the Addam's Family's scuttling hand, The Thing. It also brings to mind Douglas Gordon's more sinister Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde-esque videos, which use his own arms (one of which is shaved to appear as though they don't belong to the same person) in a fight against each other - or rather two halfs of the same self.

Douglas Gordon | 'A Divided Self I and A Divided Self II' (1996)

I would like to take this idea forward and play with it further but perhaps I could incorporate it into my current contexts of meat, the body and consumption. The dismembered body feels especially abject, like a body without identity or conscious mind, blurring the boundaries between object and subject. There also seems to be a feeling of connectedness and separation in this video that I wasn't planning on. This feels particularly relevant to the current global pandemic causing a lack of physical touch and connectedness. Perhaps this could be a digital love story to a past touch taken for granted or a hope for the future that we can creep back together again. Or could it be taken even further with the survailence of touch and connectedness in a COVID era?


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