“Vanitas” was a 30 minute performance of shared play...
A simulated playground of objects and imagery, set on the ground floor of The Gordon House, a North London artist’s studio, it formed part of the 2019 Artlicks “Interdependence” Festival. The video documents (on the previous page) form two complementary views of the same event.
A tableau vivant, the space was already set by three projections related to time and thought. Muffled sounds of a station, and near-static performers, created a sense of awaiting a departure. A central table of objects (e.g. ball, straws, tripod, glass, mirror pieces) implied play, looking, holding and exchange.
Action was triggered by Andrew releasing a tense thread, so a ball descended the stairs unaided. From there on, objects could be seen as puppets, moved and placed to contribute to a triptych on reflection. A central spot was deflected through a glass onto the wall, then disrupted by a mirror shard carrying its light elsewhere. This shadow play built up using projected shadow films, reflection and our bodies. Lighting (including candle-light and hand-held torches) guided the viewer through a primary cycle: beginning, maturation, and ending.
Communication between us was largely non verbal, besides coded instructions which paused or released the other performer. This awkward, unpredictable restriction framed dynamics of control between us. The multiple layers of narrative and time enabled many possible focuses, within a landscape of illumination and extinction.