Tuesday 8 December 2015

Making the TOMB

A lot of my 2015 was spent developing a large latex vacuum installation/performance especially for SPILL Festival of Performance 2015 (the biggest vac piece I'd ever attempted).
Was a challenge to work out how I could make a piece that could house 5 performers and that I'd be able to create a full vacuum just by my own breathing.
It took over 50 meters of latex to make, the base was largely made from scrap from dismantled bathroom sets.
Here's a brief overview of the making of it.
Tomb was supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Big insparation for the form     Final design sketch                              Fully working model with 5 Star
came from Trajens Column                                                                  Wars figures inside!
in the V&A cast courts.
Gluing 4.5 meter seams in the      Scavenging the junk pile to make            Getting a bit Close
latex in my flat                              the base.                                                   Encounters in my flat
After A LOT of fiddling, got the curve of the plinths to fit       First test, such a relief it worked
the shaped tube. As the tube had to be inset into the plinth       (especially as were about to do our
it had to fit perfect                                                                      full cast rehearsal minutes later!)


Wednesday 2 December 2015

TOMB: SPILL Festival of Performance 2015

Got these stills from the great video of my performance published on SPILL's site!
I've always been hugely inspired by Ray Harryhausen and when I saw these images it occurred to me how much his work inspired this piece!
Tomb was supported using public funding by Arts Council England

                                          Bottom image: Still from Clash of the Titans

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Spill Writing

Spill Stains: Tomb (plastic plurality)

by Jonathan Boddam-Whetham

Inscription // Exscription

We are moving from the singularity of The Machine Legends at Spill Festival 2014 where Adam Electric dealt with fetishism and mythology, creating a singular performance [singularity] that placed the human body within a space of both absence and presence.  A second skin that only touched me through breath; a death-rattle that brought about a presence of the body.  His performance became a gravity well, drawing us in with a rhythmic gasping for life.  Both freedom and the delineation of the body became problematised through a constraint that also formed and gave life.  A singular projection of ego where space surrenders to vacuumed presence.

Moving toward this newest iteration, Tomb resonates with much of the festival workings, where memory and eulogy seem to be inscribed upon those other works.  A broken circumference of a plurality of plasticity; a remaking of the self à la Malabou and neuro-plasticity.  But this is not just a re-forming – like neuronal pathways – or singular transformation.  My breath is our breath, I breathe for you.  If breath is life, this is a shared life, but more; it is a shared shaping of bodies in the same [second] skin.  If kabbalists inscribe the name of God upon the Golem’s forehead to give it life, then perhaps this is what Nancy calls an exscription.

This is an impossible term, referring to that which is outside the text.  But ‘this “outside” is not that of the referent that signification would reflect’, it is not something outside of meaning to which the text refers.  But is what Nancy calls the ‘infinite withdrawal of meaning’.  He talks of an ‘“empty freedom” by which existence comes into presence – absence’, but this emptiness is not a lack as such, rather a dynamic movement of being.  Which is no-thing as such, not meaningful, but also not senseless.  Being is always with and I am never alone even being alone.  It is a primordial condition of my being that existence is shared.

Exscription travels through the text, contaminating it with a freedom, with a sharing that is the possibility of death which affirms existence, affirms others in the world.  So in this working, the meaning – the with – dances across plastic skin forming and erasing presence and absence in a breathless momentum.  In my own possibility of death, I desperately breathe – life – I create a space, an absent and present one, touching others.  A monumental tomb where I do not inscribe a eulogy, but exscribe the co-possibility of Being, which is both singular and plural.

Adam Electric moves his working on, not just on a grander scale, but in a reflective way that represents [as such] our existence with others in the world.  We do not die alone he seems to write, or perhaps tattoos, on his plastic skin.  We are always with others, who we touch, even when we are alone, because meaning always touches, always circulates between us, is able to be because we are with.