warehouse warehouse

Magnets

by Kate Paul
Nazli Dinçel, still from Her Silent Seaming (2014)

This​ ​isn’t​ ​an​ ​expression​ ​of​ ​a​ ​real​ ​thing:​ ​this​ ​is​ ​the​ ​thing​ ​itself.​ ​Of​ ​course​ ​the​ ​thing​ ​itself​ ​the​ ​thing itself​ ​is​ ​never​ ​the​ ​same.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​how​ ​aestheticism​ ​can​ ​be​ ​so​ ​much​ ​fun.

Kathy​ ​Acker


Fußnoten

  1. Narrative Reflections on Looking, Victoria Sin, 2017, 11 min, Colour, Digital Part 3 / Cthulhu Through the Looking Glass

  2. I Like Dreaming, Charles Lofton, 1994, 6 min Colour, Digital

  3. Rhinoceros, Sebastian Buerkner, 2016, 3 min, Colour, Digital

  4. Her Silent Seaming, Nazli Dinçel, 2014, 10’30 min, Colour, 16mm

  5. Critical Practice, Rachal Bradley, 10 min, Public reading

  6. Liberty Bums, Rachel Reupke, 2017, 3 min Colour, Digital

  7. Ebi Flo (WEAREFAMILY), Evan Ifekoya, 2016, 4’26 min, Colour, Digital

I​ ​always​ ​look​ ​at​ ​how​ ​people​ ​move​ ​together.
The​ ​word​ ​‘pleasure’​ ​is​ ​absent​ ​in​ ​most​ ​psychiatric​ ​textbooks.

Dr​ ​Bessel​ ​Van​ ​der​ ​Kolk

There​ ​is​ ​an​ ​emotional​ ​need​ ​for​ ​synchronicity​ ​with​ ​others​ ​and​ ​there​ ​are​ ​neural​ ​mechanisms​ ​for
getting​ ​it;​ ​exchanges​ ​at​ ​the​ ​frontiers​ ​of​ ​our​ ​faces​ ​and​ ​hands,​ ​the​ ​sounds​ ​of​ ​our​ ​voices.​ ​​ ​There
are​ ​also​ ​mechanics​ ​for​ ​fucking​ ​up​ ​synchronicity​ ​for​ ​agreed​ ​periods​ ​of​ ​time​ ​in​ ​screening​ ​rooms,
because​ ​we​ ​want​ ​it​ ​to​ ​be​ ​fucked-up,​ ​but​ ​only​ ​with​ ​a​ ​time-lock.​ ​Organised​ ​de-stabilisation,​ ​which
is​ ​probably​ ​safe​ ​and​ ​possibly​ ​too​ ​safe.

Non-Linear:​ ​Magnets​ ​[7:35-8:30pm]​ ​was​ ​a​ ​procession​al ​meditation​ ​on​ ​identification,​ ​desire,​ ​body
rhythms.​ ​Meditation​ ​as​ ​thinking​ ​circularly​ ​around​ ​a​ ​subject:​ ​‘On​ ​Magnetism’,​ ​or,​ ​’On​ ​Looking’.
The​ ​films​ ​did​ ​not​ ​replicate​ ​forged​ ​connections​ ​but​ ​made​ ​connections​ ​with​ ​us​ ​themselves,
consensual​ ​and​ ​intrusive;

first,​ ​Narrative​ ​Reflections​ ​on​ ​Looking,​ ​by​ ​Victoria​ ​Sin​ ​[7:35pm]1.​ ​An
uncomfortable​ ​mirroring​ ​of​ ​what​ ​desire​ ​and​ ​identification​ ​take​ ​without​ ​asking.​ ​Sin
appears​ ​on​ ​screen​ ​in​ ​beautiful​ ​​red​​ ​lingerie​ ​drag,​ ​lying​ ​horizontally​ ​[and​ ​us
looking]​ ​on​ ​​red​​ ​silk.​ ​There’s​ ​a​ ​pale​ ​​red​​ ​fluff​ ​jacket,​ ​and​ ​grey​ ​diamonds,​ ​whitish
wig​ ​hair.​ ​Skin.​ ​These​ ​filmed​ ​surfaces​ ​are​ ​indexical​ ​because​ ​they​ ​give​ ​direct
reference​ ​to​ ​what​ ​it​ ​is​ ​to​ ​touch​ ​them.​ ​I​ ​find​ ​my​ ​chest​ ​moving​ ​heavily​ ​with​ ​Sin’s
chest,​ ​which​ ​has​ ​plastic​ ​breasts​ ​on,​ ​painted​ ​nipples​ ​-​ ​our​ ​brains​ ​allow​ ​us​ ​to
understand​ ​the​ ​sensations​ ​of​ ​others​ ​by​ ​firing​ ​off​ ​replications​ ​of​ ​them,​ ​mirror
neurons,​ ​the​ ​vagus​ ​nerve​ ​which​ ​is​ ​what​ ​heartache​ ​is​ ​in​ ​the​ ​body​ ​-
“Your​ ​fly​ ​is​ ​undone”,​ ​says​ ​the​ ​disembodied​ ​narrator.​ ​And​ ​this​ ​is​ ​an​ ​asynchronous
&​ ​coercive​ ​moment​ ​of​ ​humiliation,​ ​because​ ​the​ ​connection​ ​we​ ​feel​ ​in​ ​our​ ​bodies
with​ ​the​ ​image​ ​is​ ​misjudged,​ ​wrong,​ ​and​ ​because​ ​humiliation​ ​is​ ​what​ ​happens
when​ ​someone​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​another​ ​is​ ​given​ ​too​ ​much​ ​power​ ​by​ ​the​ ​person​ ​being
seen.​ ​The​ ​next​ ​film,​ ​by​ ​Charles

Lofton,​ ​I​ ​like​ ​Dreaming​ ​[7:46pm]2​ is​ ​suddenly​ ​shuddering​ ​flat​ ​black​ ​grey​ ​and​ ​yellow​ ​images​ ​of
muscular​ ​men​ ​on​ ​streets,​ ​walking,​ ​catching​ ​sight​ ​of​ ​the​ ​camera,​ ​looking​ ​back​ ​or​ ​away.​ ​It​ ​is
surveillance​ ​before​ ​the​ ​possibility​ ​of​ ​contact.​ ​The​ ​narrator​ ​tells​ ​us​ ​an​ ​autobiographical​ ​story
about​ ​cruising​ ​and​ ​being​ ​cruised.​ ​He​ ​picks​ ​up​ ​and​ ​is​ ​picked​ ​up​ ​by​ ​a​ ​masculine,
straight-seeming​ ​man,​ ​who​ ​like​ ​himself​ ​has​ ​pale​ ​brown​ ​skin.​ ​Mutual​ ​identification​ ​is​ ​possible​ ​but
blocked​ ​by​ ​masculinity,​ ​the​ ​narrator​ ​finds​ ​himself​ ​eroticising​ ​it,​ ​surprised​ ​by​ ​it:​ ​‘Did​ ​he​ ​just​ ​call
me​ ​bro??!’
and
lyrics​ ​​[I​ ​like​ ​dreaming]
come​ ​up​ ​on​ ​screen​ ​​[I​ ​like​ ​holding​ ​you​ ​close]
one​ ​line​ ​after​ ​the​ ​other​​ ​[touching​ ​your​ ​skin]
so​ ​it​ ​feels​ ​participatory​​ ​[even​ ​if​ ​it’s​ ​in​ ​my​ ​mind],​​ ​like​ ​karaoke.
Participation​ ​here​ ​is​ ​in​ ​societal​ ​fantasies​ ​which​ ​infuse​ ​surveillance​ ​images​ ​of​ ​masculine​ ​men​ ​of
colour,​ ​and

Charles Lofton, still from I Like Dreaming (1994)

a​ ​pantoum​ ​is​ ​a​ ​rigid​ ​verse​ ​style,​ ​three​ ​stanzas,​ ​a​ ​rhythmical​ ​progression​
​by means​ ​of​ ​repetition.​ Developmental.​ ​In​ ​Sebastian​ ​Buerkner’s​ ​Rhinoceros
[7:51pm]3
,​ ​a​ ​couple,​ ​probably​ ​heterosexual,​ ​enact​ ​a​ ritual​ ​of​ ​commitment,​ ​moving
in​ ​together,​ ​speaking​ ​a​ ​pantoum,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​here​ ​attachment,​ ​co-domesticity,​ ​a​ ​slap
in​ ​the​ ​face​ ​of​ ​personal​ ​autonomy.​ ​The​ ​form​ ​is​ ​a​ ​symbol​ ​and​ ​it​ ​is​ ​a​ ​shape:​ ​‘Let’s
make​ ​this​ ​ours’.​ ​There​ ​are​ ​other​ ​formal​ ​repetitions​ ​which​ ​make​ ​the​ ​film​ ​feel
sculptural,​ ​the​ ​recurrence​ ​of​ ​round​ ​shapes​ ​used​ ​by​ ​the​ ​couple​ ​unconventionally:
egg,​ ​balloon,​ ​tangerine,​​ ​but​ ​not

jaggedly​ ​symbolic​ ​like​​ ​​Nazlὶ Dinçel’s Her Silent Seaming [7:55pm],4in which a pomegranate​​ ​is

put​ ​together​ ​and​ ​taken​ ​apart,​ ​messily​ ​reconstructed.​ ​Dinçel​ ​productively​ ​destroys​ ​one​ ​of​ ​her​ ​old films,​ ​scratching​ ​reported​ ​statements​ ​from​ ​the​ ​lovers​ ​she​ ​has​ ​had​ ​over​ ​the​ ​course​ ​of​ ​her
separation​ ​with​ ​her​ ​husband
{{YOU}}
​{{ARE}}
{{SO}} {{WET}}

onto​ ​the​ ​frames.
There​ ​is​ ​a
lag​ ​in​ ​between​ ​the​ ​sound​ ​and​ ​the​ ​image,​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​failure​ ​to​ ​connect,
to​ ​be​ ​emotionally​ ​in​ ​sync​ ​with
another.
The​ ​sound​ ​is​ ​a​ ​repeated​ ​scratching,​ ​painful​ ​​ultrasound​​ ​-​ ​it’s​ ​the​​ ​traumatic​ ​centre​ ​​of​ ​the screening,​ ​we​ ​feel​ ​the​
​disjuncture​ ​in​ ​our​ ​chests;​ t​​he​ ​sound​​ ​is​ ​loud,​ ​there​ ​are​ ​body​ ​parts
on​ ​screen,​ ​penises​ ​obscured​ ​beautifully​ ​by​ ​scratches​ ​in​ ​the​ ​frame,​ ​the​ ​colours​ ​are​ ​red,
purple,​ ​blue,​ ​repeated​ ​application​ ​of​ ​lipstick,​ ​pomegranate​ ​comes​ ​apart​ ​again…

But​ ​Rachal​ ​Bradley’s​ ​reading,​ ​CRITICAL​ ​PRACTICE,​ ​[8:06pm]​5​is​ ​a​ ​pause.​ ​She
narrates​ ​a​ ​toxic​ ​relationship​ ​between​ ​pretentious​ ​art​ ​school​ ​friends.

Although​ ​the​ ​words​ ​speak​ ​their​ ​eventual​ ​failure​ ​to​ ​connect,​ ​‘the​ ​filter​ ​of​ ​x
and​ ​y​ ​churned​ ​like​ ​a​ ​dysfunctional​ ​search​ ​engine’,​ ​the​ ​form​ ​itself​ ​is​ ​tight,​ ​a​ ​series
of​ ​equivalences,​ ​every​ ​phrase​ ​pinned​ ​into​ ​metaphor.​ ​When​ ​the​ ​text​ ​finishes,​ ​a
song​ ​[Felt​ ​-​ ​Sunlight​ ​Bathed​ ​in​ ​Golden​ ​Glow]​ ​plays​ ​in​ ​full,​ ​and​ ​there​ ​is​ ​the
demand-less​ ​intimacy​ ​and​ ​togetherness​ ​that​ ​is​ ​created​ ​by​ ​listening​ ​in​ ​the​ ​dark​ ​to
a​ ​song​ ​with​ ​a​ ​steady​ ​rhythm.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​safe,

and​ ​softly​ ​after,​ ​the​ ​wafting​ ​floral​ ​prints​ ​in​ ​Liberty​ ​Bums​ ​[8:16pm]6,​ ​by​ ​Rachel​ ​Reupke,​ ​are gentler
iterations​ ​of​ ​Victoria​ ​Sin’s​ ​​red​​ ​silks.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​film​ ​in​ ​which​ ​Reupke​ ​remembers​ ​watching ​​a​ ​public
screening​ ​of​ ​William​ ​and​ ​Kate’s​ ​royal​ ​wedding​ ​in​ ​a​ ​park,​ ​with​ ​her​ ​late​ ​friend​ ​Ian.​​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​quiet
association​ ​between​ ​the​ ​viewers​ ​and​ ​the​ ​image,​ ​the​ ​spectacle​ ​of​ ​intimacy,​ ​of ​​having​ ​known
another​ ​[but​ ​of​ ​course]​ ​imperfectly.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​productive,​ ​tender,​ ​like

the​ ​positive​ ​constructed​ ​intimacy​ ​in​ ​Evan​ ​Ifekoya’s​ ​film​ ​Ebi​ ​Flo​ ​(WEAREFAMILY)
[8:20pm]7,​ ​in​ ​which​ ​the​ ​artist​ ​sings​ ​to​ ​us:

Am​ ​I
You​ ​me
Or​ ​are​ ​we?
We​ ​are​ ​family
We​ ​are​ ​family
We​ ​are​ ​fam-il-ee
I​ ​got​ ​my​ ​sisters​ ​with​ ​me

,​ ​question​ ​and​ ​resolution,​ ​repeated,​ ​one​ ​never​ ​fully​ ​negating​ ​the
other.​ ​Evan​ ​merges​ ​into​ ​a​ ​CGI​ ​leafy​ ​background,​ ​fluxing,​ ​except​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a
constant​ ​gaze​ ​between​ ​viewer​ ​and​ ​singer.​ ​If​ ​it​ ​were​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​screening,

Victoria Sin, still from Narrative Reflections on Looking (2017)

we​ ​would​ ​have​ ​left​ ​the​ ​room​ ​with​ ​warmth.​ ​Instead,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​Victoria​ ​Sin’s​ ​Cthulhu​ ​Through​ ​the
Looking​ ​Glass​ ​(8:25pm).The​ ​Wikipedia​ ​entry​ ​for​ ​the​ ​fantasy​ ​creature​ ​that​ ​gives​ ​this​ ​last​ ​film​ ​its
name​ ​reads,​ ​’simply​ ​looking​ ​upon​ ​the​ ​creature​ ​drives​ ​the​ ​viewer​ ​insane’.

How​ ​long​ ​lasting​ ​is​ ​the​ ​disruption​ ​of​ ​a​ ​screening,​ ​of​ ​practicing​ ​identification​ ​and​ ​its​ ​failure?

Victoria​ ​Sin​ ​sits​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​us​ ​with​ ​a​ ​bouquet,​ ​dressed​ ​in​ ​white,​ ​plastic​ ​breasts​ ​large,​ ​partially
exposed,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​narrator​ ​describes​ ​ripping​ ​an​ ​image​ ​out​ ​of​ ​a​ ​magazine​ ​and​ ​pasting​ ​it​ ​onto​ ​their
face,​ ​sucking​ ​their​ ​finger​ ​through​ ​a​ ​mouth​ ​rip,​ ​monstrous.

Kate Paul is an artist and autism support worker based in Manchester.

With​ ​reference​ ​to:

Complex​ ​Trauma:​ ​Developmental​ ​&​ ​Neurobiological​ ​Impact​ ​with​ ​Dr.​ ​Bessel​ ​van​ ​der​ ​Kolk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXr_IB1ELCk
+
Great​ ​Expectations​ ​–​ ​Kathy​ ​Acker

(thanks​ ​Ralph)

 

A response to the screening Non-linear: Magnets curated by Shama Khanna on 5 September at Close-up, London.