- Baltic39, Newcastle
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Collapse is a film work shot in thermal imaging in two locations - a small park, and a sleep clinic where the artist was undergoing overnight testing for narcolepsy. A host of voices emerge to speak about falling asleep in times of distress as an involuntary coping mechanism, and the film explores the experience of collapse both affectively and as a political act in itself; a physical demonstration of a systemic failure of care.
In thermal imaging things that can usually be distinguished cannot be, such as the pupil and iris of an eye, and things appear that are not usually visible, like the traces of warmth a body leaves when getting out of bed. There is an odd presence/absence, a space where things are slightly off, where you might go to escape when no other option is available. Here, the act of collapse is an articulation of personal and political un-coping, and embodies the potency of the ‘narcoleptic presence/absence’ that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick puts forward in her essay ‘Interlude, Pedagogic’, where she describes fainting at a protest:
‘Yet I like to brood over the reconstruction of that moment when I fainted partly because, through my absentation, it seems to place me, however briefly, at the center of the work of protest - as though I were Alice Walker’s luminous vacuum of a heroine Meridian, say, whose narcoleptic presence/absence seems the perfect condensation of her contagious unconsciousness of fear, her uncanny talent for crystallizing loss and rage as socially embodied defiance and movement’
Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Shortlist Exhibition, Baltic39, Newcastle, 18th July - 9th November 2019