gestures are our own living fossils (2017, ongoing)

Live video, live performance, found materials

Exhibition history 2017 Baltic39, Newcastle, UK (residency)

gestures are our own living fossils is an ongoing performance-video research project with artist Hollie Miller following our collaborative residency there was an idea of equality at Baltic39, Newcastle in January 2017.

installation view, baltic39

In its initial (rather utopian) sense, there was an idea of equality and democracy at the heart of collaboration—but can this truly be the case?

At Baltic39 we presented an open access work-in-progress exhibition of performance, video and notation that asked the central question: how can the psychology of decision-making be observed and challenged as it unfolds during a live performance involving camera-body and performative-body? The project interrogated the roles and languages of cooperation and competition in the making of collaborative video and choreographic work within a live context. Throughout the week we opened up a series of live performance experiments to examine the shifts of control within the interplay of camera and body, including the dynamics between the operators of both as choreographic bodies themselves.

A series of simple gestures were carried out within the gallery and were simultaneously recorded with a camera and projected via a live feed. One of us assumed the role of ‘body’ and the other ‘camera’. These roles were exchanged at will. Each gesture emerged through our rigorous attention to the individual properties of everyday materials such as sand, tarpaulin and cord; and the ability for the gestural image to separate itself from both the body and the camera by becoming something other.

From this process emerged the idea of these enacted and recorded gestures as "living fossils," or the preserved remains, impressions, and traces of the once-living action.

We continue to create these "fossils" when we find time to be working together in any environment, building up a collection of preserved gestures which also find new life as elements within our own individual practices.

fossilised gesture, epping forest, 2018

Collaboration with Hollie Miller
Initiated as part of Baltic39 Figure Four residency