R u c k a n d R e e l
'There is something new, for example, about my hands, a certain way of picking up my pipe or fork. Or else it is the fork which has a certain way of getting itself picked up, I don't know. Just now, when I was on the point of coming into my room, I stopped short because I felt in my hand a cold object which attracted attention by means of a sort of personality. I opened my hand and looked: I was simply holding a doorknob'. (Satre, 1938, p.13)
Ruck and Reel 1 (6 mins. 55 secs.)
Film is encountered between finger and thumb; dry, crinkled smoothness insulates fingers from oil and a cloying stickiness. Uncovered, the sphere says something of Gabriel Orozco's 'Samurai Tree'. White and pink residue is left behind on the covering like the print of a maple leaf on a shard of ice. Pulling to separate the spheres of Plasticine leaves indentations on the putty surface and residue on fingers and thumbs. From this point intervention seems more probable, with only the caesura of baking paper to prevent the mingling and mangling that comes with the force of human bodies. Fingers are too blunt to remove the diaphragm; a finger's nail slips behind the greaseproof paper and white Plasticine is scooped and embedded between nail bed and nail plate. What belongs where is suddenly indeterminate.
The first squeeze corrupts the edges of the circular face; a fissure opens and the heft of the upper mass buckles the knees of it. The thermal force of the human body has not passed through the blood circulating in the fingers. Edges remain at first. A more determined enfolding of peripheral matter into the cracks returns a sense of homogeneity. But thumb needs to be extricated as a consequence, and drags of tackiness release from fingerprints in arching sequences. Grasps of hands become embedded, anvil forefingers and hammer thumbs. Malleable material can now receive intention and scent reaches an apogee.
Shaping happens. Material is d r a g g e d and embedded. For the white side, the direction of finger-forces changes. The pulp surface of the thumb seeks the terminal pads of digits through the resistant mass. Two hands converse over what is to be done. Leaf, boat, receptacle, membrane, or thumb-pot forms. Red is offered to white; red has taken a different course. A lozenge has formed, or is it more phallic than that? More squeezing on red, embedded in the palm of the pink hand more than once. It is quickly offered and accepted. Solo Duet.
The form that contains the red grip is contained, white envelops red imperfectly. Edges are pleated in dim sum fashion and a pasty half-moon forms. Erupting red spots are patched. A single fold forms a beak and the object is relinquished.
The beak is picked-up and hauled outwards by abdurent thumbs. A raw red blushing smile is revealed before a turn and a repeated repeat reveals a white one within. Folds are folded, they are turned and then folded, repeatedly until bacon or steak can be read from the mass. Fingers pin the mass to the paper-ground, scraping warmed material into the pits within the surface. Flesh is anchored ready to be picked. Trying to separate it from itself, the red from white the white from red only makes the pink veins more visible more vital. Pick and unpick, seeking what has been drawn out.
Ruck and Reel 2 (1 min. 15 secs.)
Retained and released by a flyaway body, cells divide as we listen and attend. There is a juddering as the bloom follows a path that is pre-ordained in a making process that has dissolved and seeped away. Outer petals of tripe, wobble, snag and flick on release; at times barely breathing.
Ruck and Reel 3 (1 min. 35 secs.)
Nit-pickers pick; fingers fret, rub and gnaw the dish-cloth membrane. Index fingers prise apart material that has internalised a fading memory principle, returning to the benchmark with less accuracy each time it is released. Seams are stretched in opposite direction by pointing fists that grip the intestinal grey of the borders. The rose-like gatherings at the edges of the pelt ignored. The spare fingers work like blunt tweezers prying open adhesive cells; bloodied epidermis stretches to become salami, and then chicken skin when pushed further. The surrounding folds tremble as the gnawing action transmits outwards, perhaps scared that a balloon might still be the fated form.
‘Performativity, properly construed, is not an invitation to turn everything (including material bodies) into words; on the contrary, performativity is precisely a contestation of the excessive power granted to language to determine what is real.’ (Barad, 2003, p.802)
Satre, J. P. 1938. Nausea. Translated from French by Robert Baldick 1963. Reprint with an introduction by James Wood - 2000. London: Penguin Classics.
Barad, K., 2003. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs 28, 801–831. https://doi.org/10.1086/345321