I didn’t deal persuasively with the theme of reenactment in my response to Task 8, perhaps partly because I’m so concerned with questions of reenactment in my traumatically unfinishable work on the film The Battle of Algiers. But I appreciated being asked to think about it, and I want to bounce this thinking back at you with this task. It turns out that if reenactment is a buzz term in scholarship on film and history, it has even greater currency in your own field of dance and performance. I’ve been enjoying reading an excellent book, Performing Remains by Rebecca Schneider (2011), which links popular practices of battle reenactment with highbrow practices of the ‘re-performance’ of live art or dance pieces originally intended to be one-offs or site-specific. Schneider explicitly poses the question of the ‘tangled temporalities’ of reenactment which I would like you to consider (or, better, perform) as part of your task. She writes: ‘the very explicit twiceness of reenactment trips the otherwise daily condition of repetition into reflexive hyper-drive, expanding the experience into the uncanny’ (p. 14).
Before I set out the task, though, please take a look at a section from this draft videoessay, from 1:08-2:40.
The section you’ve watched is a rendition of a shot/reverse shot scene that uses four screens to ‘fold’ the time of the encounter back in on itself. I thought of this as analogous to the approach to picture design known as ‘analytical cubist’, as in this example by Georges Braque. Paintings like this are usually described in terms of what they do with space, but they can also be seen as rendering the passage of time.
Following on from all of this, here is your task:
- Select a piece of work you have performed in the past for which you have documentation – ideally photographic or audiovisual.
- Reenact all or part of the performance as closely as feasible and document the reenactment using the same medium (photography or video).
- Construct a record of both original performance and reenactment in which the two distinct happenings/times are 'folded' together.
What questions did the undertaking of this task raise for you as an artist and as a body?