It is urgent that we take our time


It is urgent that we take our time was selected by the Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry~Londonderry to be part of URGENCIES a group exhibition that engaged with the present moment of rapid change and uncertainty.

Three people - Eleni Kolliopoulou, Ruth McCartney and Gail Mahon responded - responded to an open call to take part in a performance workshop at the gallery. The workshop, very simply involved taking it in turns to wrap someone up for 15 minutes and then unwrap them for 15 minutes. This was filmed and then shown in the exhibition.

The work was the most recent articulation of an ongoing practice, looking in particular at how people care for still or passive bodies. Lifting, arranging, grooming, wrapping, holding etc. Drawing on practices from dance, kink, nursing and other things.

I think of this work as an expanded BDSM practice, using techniques like consent agreements, roleplay and body practices as choreographic tools. Eschewing mainstream aesthetics of BDSM (that we see in performance art too often) for a more expansive repertoire of touch, sensation, consent, care and control.

I think of how BDSM relationships are performed in sex or fetish clubs. They are both for the doers and the watchers. But in this work the exchange, the images, the frisson is more ambiguous, less sexual (probably not at all).  

In It is urgent that we take our time we select different textures, shapes and colours from a muted gradient of fabrics. Perhaps these bring to mind a cocoon or a husk. As we negotiate the other’s body - lifting, turning, reassuring - the relationship and image slip through different references. Nurse-patient; dominant-submissive; embalmer-deceased; goddess-acolyte; and so on.

The final work filmed work runs for on an endless loop of an hour and twenty minutes presenting a series of overlapping performances of passivity and activity, movement and stillness. See how different bodies are negotiated, roles switch and the cycle of dependancy and attention goes on and on, before the viewer arrives and long after they leave.

Single channel video. 1hr 20 mins.

Part of Hamish’s Configurations series which orbits around the idea of care as an aesthetic, choreographic and political practice. As a negotiation of constantly fluctuating needs, capacities and interests. And in particular, care that is disengaged, reluctant or otherwise complicated and with problems.

Performers Eleni Kolliopoulou, Ruth McCartney, Hamish MacPherson, Gail Mahon. Part of URGENCIES a group exhibition at CCA Derry~Londonderry that engages with the present moment of rapid change and uncertainty. Images courtesy CCA Derry~Londonderry & Simon Mills