Sometimes I get invited to present films or videos in a space. And then I ask myself, what does it mean to present work? How can I be present, to make a point of presence? Sometimes it’s as simple as projecting the films myself, right there in the space with you, in which case I am performing a necessary task, ok not a performance exactly but as it does require my living presence, so it still counts for something. But that’s often someone else’s job, it’s the projectionist’s job to perform that activity and in the doing usually absent, somewhere out of sight inside a booth threading film onto projectors or pressing PLAY. In which case it’s very boring for me to be presenting work, I just sit in the room with you and I don’t know why I am there with nothing to do. Because I don’t feel consistently present watching some videos I’ve already made; the past of the making and the present of the viewing oscillating randomly, disturbing to my bodily sense of presence in the here and now. Media, not immediate, is prone to distance and reflection; I watch myself watching. I want this too. But how to remedy this problem of not feeling present when I am presenting?
Performance as a means of staying present in time and space, of devising methods for my own experience of real time, in the present tense. This can take many forms: sometimes it is a projector performance-live interferences with the projected images or sound. Sometimes it’s a continuous film loop clocking away in trance mode, a theoretically infinite time signature. Sometimes a radio is useful, live transmissions in the actual airwaves.
For the performance “Sounds Like,” I received an invitation from Microscope Gallery to present work for the Bushwick Open Studios at Goodbye Blue Monday. I presented two activities: first I played a 45 on a turntable over and over and over again until it wasn’t funny anymore, and projected that activity in real time on the screen via live feed video. And then I live-streamed a playlist of my own one-take field recording videos from YouTube, selected for a tense and lively engagement with the world of sound. Also, the YouTube interface adds a random dimension to the image composition as it pulls related videos from the entire YouTube-osphere onto the page according to its own algorithms, so it never appears the same way twice.