Sound and visuals: a memory

Hugo Glendinning - unstillIn unstill Hugo Glendinning‘s photography (and film footage) meets John Avery‘s music.

Three-screen projections onto the wall. Beneath this HG stationed before laptops and, adjacent to him, JA seated before keyboard and laptop with guitar to hand.

The result is a quasi-stream-of-consciousness selection of images the bulk of which are dance-based. A dance of images. Dance history, too. Perfomers in performance and choreographers, too. The great and the good and the unknown, some of them, and the living and the dead. Landscapes, too. Flat but frequently green, or with canals cutting through them. Holland? But some industrial-type sites too, as well as closer images of abandonment or dereliction. A panorama of refuse but also a close-up of used paint cans, or a stained tap, or worn shoes, or clutter (a guess, could be wrong – Martin Creed’s?).

More questions: Who’s the tattooed and naked ‘birdman’ surrounded by faux feathered friends? Who’s the midriff-baring sailor? Where is home for the swan-like corps? Among them I recognised Franko B, dealing with dirt or what looked like animal corpses. And, on film, Trisha Brown’s action-drawing with her rolling on the white canvas with black markers in hand like some aged butoh baby. A calculated improvisation. And Boris Charmatz also on film, attempting via gesticulations and full-bodied movement to rile a child who sat serenely with closed eyes and a quite smile knowing who’d win this game. Stills of Michael Clark and co, and Merce Cunningham and his charges. And, briefly at the start, Forced Entertainment in their children-playing-royalty-in-a-row garb (but I forget the title of the show, alas). And, towards the end, sumo wrestlers. Ha!

Through-lines: Nigel Charnock and, I assume, Hugo’s own offspring. (Only a dad can get away with shots of a naked child these days.) Startled, playful boy. Sleeping child. No artifice. And Nigel in water, or with his face wrapped up in something that turned him into a Francis Bacon painting. And was that him naked draped over the branch of a tree? A rapturous nature boy. And a leaper, too. And a leper. [Couldn't resist writing that because it sounds good, obviously, coming after the previous mini-sentence, but I also think it's not untrue to Nigel's nature as a performer - this pariah, this infected outsider who knew how to work his way under our skins...]

Making a mark. Capturing a moment. Gone but not forgotten. Some stolen moments might lodge in the mind or already be in the memory. Here they’re awakened. A mood piece, this.  Absorbing and moving to be carried along on a stream of reflection by an artfully manipulating aural current. Each spectator free to make their own associations, to recognise or wonder…

Hey, I’m in there too! A white t-shirt wearer on the floor in the front row of some shots of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and fellow dancer (whose name I forget, tch) performing – unforgettably, too – her classic international calling card Fase in The Tanks at Tate Modern. Being a privileged and grateful witness – rather like I felt at unstill.


Donald Hutera
Reviewer in Residence
Juncture 2014

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