Tender Tension, 2018
I'm fascinated by the relationship between my body and the 'body' of an art object, particularly the third space that forms in between bodies. Tender Tension explores an exchange between my body objectified through butoh dance and a puppet enlivened by movement. In Butoh the flesh becomes sculpted by imagination and sensitivity, for the audience it reveals a body transformed. The puppeteer imbues an inanimate object, a puppet, with a quality of being alive. Tender tension is a kind of mesmerising kinetic sculpture with momentarily suspends the audience's distinction between human and object, reducing both body/objects to enlivened matter.
The puppet strings attached to both bodies act to both keep the bodies dependent on each other, yet separated at the same time. The mechanism maintains the tension between intimate proximity and connection and inevitable independence and aloneness. Complicating a dense yet sensitive relational space between the body/objects.
Both the dancer's body and puppet represent a giving over of the physical aspect of self to be animated by a life force, an energy or characteristic imbued into them by some exterior motive or activator. The result is uncanny, grotesque, and disturbing in the certainty of an unknown presence.
The sound scape was created with Mohammed Shakir on modular synthesizers in the creative development of this work.