TRACE OF STILLNESS

(2018, trt: 1:00:00) This was my contribution to the five-channel video installation Matej Al-Ali and I conceived of and installed at the Foundation and Center for Contemporary Art (FCCA) in Prague as part of the Apparatus 2.0 exhibition organized by the FCCA and EFA Project Space. I asked a diverse group of actors I recruited from BackStage to perform a text from the Roland Barthes's book, Camera Lucida, in which Barthes contemplates the relationship between photography and death. I allowed them to approach the text in anyway they liked and as many times as they could in one hour. I only asked them to consider the performance as part of their personal immortality projects, an attempt to seize the spotlight, to stand out, to leave a trace of themselves in the world. The title was taken from Laura Mulvey's Death at 24x a second: "Stillness and movement have different relations to time. In cinema the illusion of movement is necessarily extended within time, in duration. A still frame when repeated creates an illusion of stillness, a freeze frame, a halt in time... Although the projector reconciles the opposition and the still frames come to life, this underlying stillness provides cinema with a secret, with a hidden past that might or might not find its way to the surface. The frames come to life, the unglamorous mechanics are covered over and the entrancing illusion fills the screen. But like the beautiful automaton, a residual trace of stillness, or the hint of stillness within movement, survives, sometimes enhancing, sometimes threatening."

Performers: Lluvia Almanza, Lee Bader, Jay Castle, Courtney Constantino, Meliora Dockery, Taiwo Ellis, Lucas Hogan, Zoe Hutmacher, Noy Marom, Jorge Oliver, Carissa Pignatelli, Ibby Schenker

Crew: John Crowe, Maryann Lonergan