Performance for video.
Digital. Colour. Sound.
Duration: 13 minutes 49 seconds.
Courtesy of the artist.
I breathed form into lettered balloons to spell out words illusive yet universal to the human experience: sex, death, love, and pain. The balloon letters were divided across two piles that I accumulated and merged into words over my heart. This action was synced to a looping audio of the event of two black holes collapsing into each other—which sounds like an ultrasound of the heart. I slowly compressed the letters between my arms and through my breath I controlled a slow collapse of my body to the floor where my shadow and reflection met. I stood back up and placed the letters back into their respective piles, from which the letter “matter” of a previous word was used to form the others.
In sexdeathlovepain I question if there could be metaphorical extensions between the strangeness of blackholes and our limited understanding of universally felt yet individually dynamic relations to sex, death, love, and pain? I play with this question further through reversing the “L” in love and the “N” in pain to confuse the orientations of the other letters. The silver balloons reference stars accumulating at the brink of event horizons, where at first glance these stellar bodies appear to simply be clusters rather than indicative of the presence of a blackhole.
In 2015 when I first heard the merging blackhole audio, I made sense of the sound through its similarity to the vital processes of systolic and diastolic phases of a heartbeat, in which it is clear the body is dependent on conditions of space to endure. I thought it strange to reflexively seek to understand something like the event of a blackhole collapse through the body and I pursued this desire in the development of several performance works.