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'Seeing Red'

Durational filmed piece, thread, body and projection


‘Seeing Red’ draws together several elements, that I have recently recognised in my work, as well as points of interest from performance artists including Chris Burden and Marina Abramović, to books such as ‘Relational Aesthetics’ (Nicolas Bourriaud).

After a collaborative piece, ‘How Long’, I found myself addressing two different categories of questions. The first was how the environment of the installation functioned and spatially evolved. The second was degrees of experience and the variation between that of performer, viewer and outsider.

The potential to explore both areas – and the relationship between the two - was very exciting to me. ‘Seeing Red’ attempts to encapsulate these themes into a durational piece, allowing the experience and environment to alter as the time passes.

To push this further, I wanted to find a way to manipulate the viewer’s perspective of the experience, just as Chris Burden used the arrangement of a screen turned away from the live act within his ‘match piece’ to restrict the audience’s view to either the screen, or the reality. However, unlike Burden, my aim was to instead see how I might include an audience, in an act which would initially appear highly isolating. I attempted this through a projection, that adjusted in opacity through the duration of my binding action, to mimic the saturation of red in front of my open eyes. As the thread around my face gradually built up into a form reminiscent of a blindfold, the projection strengthened. By the end of the piece, not only did I see red, the viewer was able to observe the colour too.


The decision to perform the piece wearing a brassiere and jeans was a conscious one, relating to the idea of vulnerability and trust as well as to the visual effect of projection on bare skin. Exposing the body to evoke physical vulnerability is perhaps a little obvious, however I also wanted to explore the concept of a gendered textile. The reclamation of garments as objects, that are no longer oppressive, also extends to the use of thread and needle crafts, and so I felt that these two uses of textile were conducive with the main concept.


Keeping playfulness within my work has become an element of my practice that I value immensely: it allows me to sustain ideas and stay much more open to their evolution. Using the written word adds another medium to the mix; observing the syntax of language and the way that we construct phrases gives me another avenue to explore. The idea of high emotion and colour is something that I connect with through my own experiences, along with my recent gravitation towards red as a hue. I feel that the combination of an evocative visual with elements of linguistics and philosophy shows the consideration that goes into what I make. Drawing multiple elements and thought forms together is highly satisfying to me, and when this creates an experience that is engaging, I believe that I have found success.

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