One In The Body
Peckham 24 @Copeland Gallery
11 SEPT 2021
ONE IN THE BODY (2021) is a site-specific live performance commissioned by Peckham 24, an alternative and not-for-profit festival of contemporary photography. The 2021 edition was curated on the theme of solidarity, in response to the waves of protests that the world witnessed during the lockdowns of 2020.
Responding directly to the hyper-mediatised death of George Floyd and the collection of artworks exhibited at Copeland Gallery in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ experience, Women’s rights and lived experience with mental health, the durational piece was a collective breathing experience progressively enlivened by the audience through their connection to an embodied livestream.
Initially scattered around the gallery space, audience members were individually invited to scan with their smartphone a QR code tattooed on the performers’ bodies. The matrix barcode gave access to the performers’ synchronised breath livestreamed thanks to wireless headset mics and played through the gallery’s soundsystem. The audience was asked to play the stream with the volume up, to synchronise their breathing and to stay connected as long as they were in the space, thus preventing them from taking any documentation of the performance with their phones. Moving away from visual representation and the circulation of documentation, this set of parameters allowed for everyone to stay physically, mentally and emotionally present. The piece ended with the gathering of all audience members around the two performers in front of Aida Silvestri’s display ‘Black Men Are Good’.
Re-presenting our essential interconnectedness, communally channeled and reflected as a grounding and grieving process through the integration and incorporation of mixed-reality technologies, One In The Body claims that to protest is to demonstrate our togetherness, that we are aware and that we will continue to resist brutality and its reproduction as long as we breathe.