May 2017 'A performance after a performance'. Video work



The impromptu making of this short video work was a significant moment in the early development of my research. It was an act around which a number of different ideas coalesced; it proved a focus for subsequent reflection and the inspiration for further exploration through making.

When I began working in earnest for the first time with a digital camera in Autumn 2016, I'd begun making fixed-camera videos of subjects which I would previously have photographed, but the emphasis of this early video work had been largely on conveying a sense of the "atmosphere" of the sites with which i was working; a sense of my experience of their desertion and unoccupancy. 

The video I made at Voksenåsen, showing Elizabeth Holmertz rehearsing a piece at the piano and then leaving the space while I left the camera rolling, was both more considered and more speculative: my plan was to leave the camera recording the scene after Elizabeth departed, with a desire to see what would unfold. In that sense the work was speculative. At the same time, I realised that I was exploring (and at the same time creating) the site of my work with explicit emphasis on that site not (only) as a spatial object, but a temporal one; the site becoming not (only) the physcial space of the room, but the bounded period of time created by my recording.

My curiosity was peaked by the question of what that spatio-temporal site might be understood as containing, for me as a viewer.


[Excerpt from blog post May 4, 2017]


the ongoing consequences of a performance for a space.


A video recording of a performance in a space. This time in Voksenåsen, in Norway. The performer is Elisabeth Holmertz.

This short film shows the culmination of a performance in a space. The performer departs, but the camera invites the viewer to remain. We hear noises-off, but as the camera lingers on the deserted space, at first the content of the space appears inanimate. Gradually however the sunlight begins to seep across the seat by the piano; creating perhaps a further performance of a different order.

For me, the piece asks about the relationships between performance, place and the experience of the viewer: how does our experience of the singer’s performance shape our experience of the space; to what extent does it continue to shape our experience of the space once the performer has departed; does the performance remain in the space after it is complete; can we as subjects separate our experience of the space presented to us from that of the performance that took place within it; to what extent are places created by our knowledge of the performances acts and rituals which have taken place there; how does the exposure to these performances – or to the knowledge that these performances have taken place – interact with our perception of the space itself to create place; what are the boundaries of performance here (does the movement of the light constitute a performance in its own right)? …

I think there may be something here that’s worth pursuing further. When I set the camera rolling I had no idea what would happen at the end of artist’s performance: for how long I should let the camera continue recording and what would happen in the space in the aftermath of the performance; whether the space itself or some other actor would provide a rationale for determining the length of the recording. When the performer departed, another performance – my own – began. This performance whose trajectory was entirely unpredictable is at once a response to the space (specifically the fall of light) and at the same time adds to the cumulative creation of place.