Performing with The Rehearsal 2022

Fiona Carruthers
3 months ago
 
Many elements that are abundant on earth, are also found in the human body. They play an important role in how the body and earth’s systems function. That human and non-human are united in this way, and through their shared histories and uncertain futures, seems to have been forgotten by today’s ‘humanity’.
 
In this work, the camera's self-timer and slow shutter speeds help document my cooperative but precarious performance. In each photograph, the boundaries between human and non-human forms become increasingly blurred as I attempted to manifest my encounter with land as a state of ecological coexistence. I am relieved to have captured something of this on camera and in reviewing these images recall William Kentridge's description of his own creative process. He describes this as ‘immanence coming into being’ and an 'ongoing discovery of the structure and content of the work’.
 
As a single human performer, I am not perceived as much of a threat but my ‘formal presence’ in the work acts as a reminder that as a species I am a devastating geological force. I play my role precariously well, but in this I am acutely aware that precarity resides not only in my own challenged physicality.
 
A commitment to monitoring the work’s existence was intrinsic to the work. The laborious, repetitive actions of protection, maintenance and rebuilding conveyed something of the futility of the human condition. In this performative role, I am custodian. This is a neither sad nor joyful state, but more of an impulse for care-giving and even though tenderness is thought by some to be a neurobiologically primitive basic emotion (traced back to the pre-mammalian reptiles), I wonder if I engineered this role as a strategy for managing my own anxiety about the not-known future we all face.