Selina Taylor



My account of this work is a mediated one, the encounter with the performer is edited by the medium of video documentation, the language of memory (a story told) and the words written by those who encountered it. [...]

Nailing it down made me consider two entities; social etiquette and the elevation of the performer. An example of this elevation would be the transgression of the dancer; a dancer can travel to another space other than the one they are physically in, one single movement of the body, the body is the language which translates the space they are in and the spectator is allowed to travel momentarily with the dancer to this elevated space and feel that only you and the dancer are present in this encounter. Robert Person is in the room and directly opposite the audience, confronting his spectator and social positioning; by this I mean that each person in this moment exists only in relation to each other socially (When you laugh you ask for others to find the subject funny). In part this work is difficult to watch as both spectator and performer are forced to reflect on the immediacy of the event empathizing with every tremor in his body, every piece of tape which sticks to itself making it nearly impossible to turn the piece of cloth on his body into some kind of garment. In this moment Persson is very present in the room and reverts to the idea of the dancer when he is reciting a Galek text. The performer dips from one to the other metaphorically entering and leaving the room and sometimes in a mid state, you can see the change in the audience with this from watching intently, not moving when he’s the dancer to the nervous and very present performer where the audience are seen to be cringing, laughing nervously and rubbing their brows. Although he sits with the audience to both symbolise the end of the performance and the blending back into the structure of audience he is still undoubtedly the spectacle. It is precisely this which was the point of departure for my work, to become a tap dancer, learning a type of dance which needs to be rehearsed, something you can’t pretend to know, something which is based partly in rehearsing to the point of it becoming a natural ability and partly something which is about failure as much as success. In this I make a representation of Persson’s work, what would happen if the essence of metaphorical presence and social etiquette from the performer to the spectator were stripped down to one simple, unannounced gesture? There is no announcement, just the commanding sound of the shoes echoing throughout the building. This act is a constant state of rehearsal.