Leaving Cycle, Single Channel HD, 5’05”, 2014
Two different iterations of a script about departure set to variable gestures. The script was written to accommodate different physical activities that involved a degree of cooperation. The language is meant to adapt to the action, in a relationship that is parasitic or symbiotic by turns. The actual action on screen—knife throwing—never gets named.
Everything becomes a proxy. The loop of the action of throwing knives could pre-empt an algorithmic edit. The bodies are static while the words describe movement. Actors were asked to apply flat tones to their speech such that the primary emotion would come from the action. Here knives create the frame and also edit it. Initially, the idea was to cut each time one was dropped. In this way, actors could control the pacing of their performance in the edit, or kill a take that was moving in a direction they did not like. What emerged instead was a performance that had its own intelligence, which edited itself. When a knife dropped, the trance was broken. This existed outside of individuals. The danger of the activity, as in the knife dance in Bali, served to create and altered state. So long at the knives were in the air they dictated language. This is to say that the delivery of lines (their inflection) was secondary to the delivery of the knives. The knives then inflect the performance, making this a ritual frame in the first iteration. In the second it becomes iterative, as the postproduction assumes a more proactive role in the image. Looking forward we might envision what this film would be if one side of the pair were the AI editor. The performer that is left throws knives forward in time in a social contract that has to be actively maintained. Should the performer fall asleep, they will be cut.