LOWELL CLARE / MICHAEL NEWTON
My partner and I are on opposite sides of a sheet. I sit with a projector behind the audience while he stands backlit and alone. He reads from poetic texts and plays with the lights behind him, allowing him to present his works in the guise of a voice and a series of shapes. I project slides onto the sheet-sometimes in rapid succession and sometimes lingering on a single image that I can then manipulate. The texts and slides were carefully co-curated to illuminate and obfuscate through a system of call and response. The performance is not me throwing up images in the midst of the projector’s hums and clicks. Nor is the performance my partner’s cloud of gesticulations and poems. The performance takes place on the surface of the sheet-a kind of membrane capable of both capturing our distinct contributions and transforming them into something cohesive and whole. From my point of view, our performance addresses the material realities of slides and their deep impact on processes of looking. My partner’s identity is obscured by the sheet as well as the sounds and images thrown by the projector. So, in the context of our performance, the projector’s true nature is made fully clear-a device for looking into other times and places that necessarily confuses the present. I have culled the slides that we used over the past few years from a variety of sources. Some are vacation snapshots, others were published by tourist destinations, some my grandparents took, some and others are just random. Today we live in a world where the information contained in a thing is often privileged above the thing itself. Clunky and rich, slides speak (loudly) of the age preceding our own-a time before information was prized above material reality. The use of slides in this performance reflects an intentional grasping for connective tissue to that earlier moment. Slides as a medium are imbued with qualities that allow for singular stories and experiences. Slides are evocative of pulsating magicks and lost worlds, of the compulsion to tell stories and the imperative to dream. The commonalities between my partner’s texts and my slides allow us to have a multimedia discourse on these themes. The sheet allows for a legible and ephemeral transcription of that conversation.