Developed in collaboration with Corin Sworn as an expanded exploration of the ideas and influences of her recent film The Lens Prism, the programme investigated the construction of a text, the performance of a script, and the translation of these two acts via a film, a live performance and the documentation of a performance.
Taking Sworn’s interest in de Cointet’s numerous encoded drawings, newspapers (ACRCIT) and books—incorporating appropriated excerpts from television soap operas, Baudelaire, Mexican radio and conversations overheard in the street—as its starting point, Serpentine Cinema presents three works that collage diverse found texts and references. The colour documentation of a posthumous performance of My Father's Diary by Guy de Cointet (1934-1983) at Temporary Contemporary, MOCA, Los Angeles in 1985 (performed by Mary Ann Duganne) is presented alongside The Lens Prism, filmed in the theatre at Tramway in Glasgow, and the performance After close scrutiny a horse, hamburger or loved one can begin to resemble a cloud at the Gate Cinema by Giles Bailey.
The Lens Prism (Working Model for a Viewing Subject), 2010
17 minutes, HD Video, colour, sound.
Creative Producer - Tramway, Glasgow
Commissioned by Berwick Upon Tweed Film & Media Arts Festival
A man hangs up his jacket, takes a sip of water and begins rehearsing a collection of narratives in an empty theatre. The Lens Prism presents the discursive wanderings of a character’s mind through a series of vignettes. These weave autobiographical anecdote with history, and past events with present day interpretation in a monologue that remains confident and convincing throughout narrative tangles and a subtle short-circuiting of thought process.
Canadian born, Glasgow-based Sworn uses the concept of the lens prism to interrogate discrepancies in the reading of a text—whether a social text or written material. By adjusting a lens prism, it is possible to treat muscular imbalance in eye orientation by displacement of what is seen through the spectacle lens. It is the subtle alteration of our own subjectivity in the attempt to see what others see that might undermine the story of the past. Sworn takes delight in a collision of accounts, maintaining shared spaces as spaces of fracture and difference.
Corin Sworn (b. 1977, London) works with drawing, photography and video. Recently she has been writing scripts to explore the interaction of various modes of speech in film. This is an examination of these structures as they allow for how things can be spoken about and what can be said. She is part of a collaborative writing group in Glasgow. She holds an MA Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art.
Sworn has an upcoming solo exhibition Art Now: Corin Sworn, Tate Britain, June - September 2011. Recent exhibitions include Tramway, Glasgow, 2010 and Washington Garcia for Glasgow international, 2010. Her work has also been included in Cosey Complex, ICA, London, 2010, Morality, Witte De With, Rotterdam, 2010, EASTInternational 2009, Norwich University College of the Arts, Norwich, 2009, Report on Probability, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland, 2009 and There Are Those, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver 2007.
Guy de Cointet
(Paris 1934 – Los Angeles 1983)
My Father's Diary, 1975 by Guy de Cointet, colour documentation of a posthumous performance at Temporary Contemporary, MOCA, Los Angeles, USA in 1985 and performed by Mary Ann Duganne.
Duration: approx 15 mins
Performed by regular de Cointet collaborator, Mary Ann Duganne, the protagonist in My Father’s Diary continually refers to the unusual canvas diary to tell tales of fleeing war whilst seemingly taking her words from the pages of encrypted text, before looking to the audience to tell the wry and meandering story:
‘On his deathbed a man gives his daughter a book a precious book, filled with texts, signs, diagrams, drawings. ‘This is my dairy…’ he starts to tell her, but too weak to give additional information he closes his eyes… forever. At this moment the war breaks out, dragging along in its turmoil the young girl and the dairy. Recalling for the audience these tragic events, she presents the large books and attempts to explain it page after page. The book sits on a small table.’
A continually provocative influence for contemporary conceptual and performance artists today, from the late '60s until his untimely death in 1983, Guy de Cointet was an active member of the Los Angeles art scene whose works on paper and theatrical productions used readymade language taken from both the high literature of his native France and the soap operas of his adopted land. Known informally by some during the '70s as the ‘Duchamp of LA’, Cointet today is the stuff of hearsay, or even legend—a figure spotted in the background of photographs of early Paul McCarthy performances such as Class Fool (1976) or in the classrooms at CalArts, where John Baldessari would sometimes invite him to guest teach ("an alternative to the Finish Fetish artists").
‘[De Cointet] was highly respected and influential in California in the 1970s and deserves more attention now... de Cointet influenced artists as diverse as Mike Kelley, Allen Ruppersberg, Larry Bell and Eric Orr. – Paul McCarthy
Special thanks to the Estate of Guy de Cointet and Air de Paris
After close scrutiny a horse, hamburger or loved one can begin to resemble a cloud is a narrative structured around a pair of photographs that were sent to the artist in 2010. Their anachronistic or, at least, temporally elastic character prompted a study of the manners in which images are read and instrumentalised in the writing of history. The result of this research was the discovery that the subjects of these photographs were travellers in time. The performance gives an account of their journey while exploring the idiomatic nature of time travel as an image constructed in literature and film.
Giles Bailey was born in York (UK) in 1981. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art, The Royal College of Art and is now enrolled in the Master of Fine Art programme at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam.
Working largely in performance his research is concerned with construction of text through collisions of sources. He explores the possibility of the script as a site for collaged material drawn from the various mediations of theatrical, literary or cinematic events. Through the re-articulation of a documentary image, close scrutiny of speculative moments in nascent cinema or positioning of biographical footnotes he proposes terms that address and problematise the roles of performer and audience.
He is currently developing issue 12 of Achim Lengerer’s discursive publishing platform Scriptings and has recently contributed texts to the journal Gnommero and Stealing one Thought out of the Other by Matthias Meyer. He was a member of the independent music and art collectives Nuts and Seeds and Circus Circus and from 2006 - 2008 was on the committee of Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (UK).
Serpentine Cinema: CINACT is a series of monthly artists’ film screenings and events at The Gate Cinema in Notting Hill. CINACT takes its name from American artist Henry Flynt’s 2007 cinema manifesto. In association with sketch and Picturehouse Cinemas
In association with sketch and Picturehouse Cinemas