A drama/essay: I guess it means we are in another’s brain…

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This is a graphic essay, my first attempt at illustrating a series of thoughts and questions…

It seems ironic to think about diversity while bracketed by one’s own mind, body and imagination… Yet, there is always another side to the implausible…

You could say, I’m suggesting that we are all sort of spaced out into the world.

My ability to think and act is conditioned on diversity and plurality. I am born into a world of people. This diversity enables me to act and think.

Yet, to act involves me putting diversity at risk. Sometimes I, or a group I am part of, narrow plurality in order to act coherently, to attempt some kind of transformation or change.

When we fight for social justice and equality, we narrow diversity to focus in a particular moment on a particular cause within a diversity of causes. We highlight a problem within diversity, we fight against a specific privilege or position, a specific set of values or bureaucratic practices. This is also the point where we can sometimes forget we are also always caring for and fighting for plurality.

I appreciate diversity not simply so that I can protect my ability to act, think, appear and cohere. Rather I appreciate and am mindful that my ability to think and act is often made possible at the very moment diversity is at risk.

It is important and interesting to think about how we might accept responsibility for that risk, individually and collectively, as we work to affect change.

These thoughts are based on a connection I see between various insights by Édouard Glissant and Hannah Arendt. Two quotes that have inspired me are:

“Thinking thought usually amounts to withdrawing into a dimensionless place in which the idea of thought alone persists. But thought in reality spaces itself out into the world. It informs the imaginary of peoples, their varied poetics, which it then transforms, meaning, in them its risk becomes realized.” – Édouard Glissant

Not man but men inhabit this planet. Plurality is the law of the earth.
Arendt, Hannah. The Life of the Mind (2 vols. Volume I: Thinking, Volume II: Willing). Brace Harcourt. January 1, 1978. Hardcover, 535 pages, Language English, ASIN: B001RG9SBI.

I started this essay while on the International Residency Programme at RM Gallery in Auckland in early 2014. I really appreciate the opportunity the residency gave me to create new work, to think and meet some great people. The character of the Hooded Lantern was directly inspired by the poetry of Bernadette Hall.

Taster of something new

I’m starting a new film/art project loosely called ‘The particle in residence’ that builds on the character-based performance and video work I do. Here is a still from a short film I made recently called Mirror stage ​(2015): Mirror stage YouTube still Here we witness the rare phenomena of the Higgs boson gazing at itself in the mirror for the first time. The development of characters in my work creates a starting/locus point that I can return to as the conceptual and contextual ground of a project evolves. I source characters from the real-world, such as Stephen Hawking, and create others, such as ‘L’, a person who writes letters to Barbara Cartland and gives her tips about how to write space-romances. I also develop characters out of abstract concepts or scientific fields of enquiry, such as ‘Higgs boson’, which is what I’m focusing on at the moment. Like my past work, ‘Love Letters to Stephen Hawking’ in which I conflated ideas of deep space and black plastic rubbish bags (aka black holes), ‘The particle in residence’ is similarly speculative and absurdist. During the project I will develop a human-like consciousness and life for the boson. I see the particle as an ancient yet new ‘visitor’ to the contemporary world, a quick-study of the human condition, but also an entity that doesn’t quite fit in; that is different, and that must learn the rules of normality and abnormality. Together me and the Higgs boson will explore specific aspects of the human condition through the tragic-comic lens of identity. We’ll aim to mix archetypes and stereotypes with singular and ‘untranslatable’ experiences of self and collective. Wish us luck!