Video still, HOST II 2010, DVD, 4min 40sec. Edition of 5. Anatomy Museum, Royal Veterinary College London, England
HOST II This video was filmed at the Anatomy Museum of the Royal Veterinary College, London. The viewer is witness to an intimate encounter between myself and the specimens contained in the glass display cases throughout the museum – mostly animal, some human.
Whilst turning my body in a clockwise motion I softly recite a 100-word text written specifically for the occasion: the text, engraved on ordinary razorblades (one word per blade), addresses the relationship between my body as a meaty living thing, and the stripped-down specimens on display. For me, this is a deeply violent encounter with the humanist systems of studying, classifying and displaying the fruits of its labour.
I kept thinking about the relationship between flesh, bone and form in the artworks of English painter, Francis Bacon (1909-1992). In Bacon’s work one often finds a single colour plane, or ‘form’ from which a figure is born. But, placing myself here, in the midst of the many reflective structural planes, my body explodes, no longer emerging from a single plane or held together by the structure of the bones. For a moment, I emerge both from and within a sequence of events:
My body is fragmented into multiple reflections that take on a life of their own: Initially these reflections duly follow the central figure’s movement. But, as the action progressively unfolds, the two reflections on the side go completely out of sync until, as if by magic, they all complete the performance at exactly the same time.
The ‘words’ produce sound as each blade is thrown against the various material surfaces that surround me.
Production assistant: Wayne Binitie
Special thanks: The Royal Veterinary College (RVC); Mr Andrew Crook (Senior Technician, Department: Veterinary Basic Sciences, RVC)
Text for HOST II 2010, Anatomy Museum, Royal Veterinary College London, England
into the blind light of chronic insomnia
where pupils dilate repeatedly
and struggle to adjust
to the tricky flickering
of a half-open half-shut vibrato
that give shapeless masses temporary form
as they come in closer
to the cut
that separates and unites
the outsider’s lament
from the stealthy humour of the ancient ghosts
that trawl this nowhereland
and snicker among themselves
as they revel in the anomaly
of our barenaked shame
like feral cats with sharp claws and poison teeth
that clean-preen and sink-right-in
a body still dispersed in time&space
without ever drawing a single drop of blood