May 31, 2012
Emily Roysdon’s I am a Helicopter, Camera, Queen @ BMW Tate Live

The third performance from the BMW Tate Live series at Tate Modern happened tonight with Emily Roysdon’s choreographed performance, I am a Helicopter, Camera, Queen. The performance used untrained performers who moved through the performance room and outside into a larger space at the Tate for the finale. The following is the artists statement from her website about the work:

Roysdon thinks of the helicopter, camera, and queen as representations of territory and seeing – regimes of viewing and ways of understanding space.

For this project Roysdon will be working with 100 volunteers who identify as queer and/or feminists. Taking the precise confines of the room itself as the score, and thinking about scale, resources and units of measure, the choreography will ‘make room,’ reconstituting and queering a previously defined space. The participants will attempt to be exactly in the space, to be audience and performer, to be in time and to create a stage within their collectivity. The room will be full and the participants will be guided by a room size score below their feet, that once the live action is complete will remain as a document of the event.

While the performance had its moments, overall it lacked conceptual clarity and seemed to be attempting too much for what are scheduled as ten minute performances. For me, the ‘site’ of it being an online live performance and the relationship of a global spectatorship with the white space of the room seemed to not be considered as a factor. This was a real shame as these were clearly a key factor in Pablo Bronstein’s performance, Constantinople Kaleidoscope, last month and I had hoped were a sign of a well considered selection by the Tate curators. This seems to have not been the case, credit for consideration of the online space lies solely with Pablo Bronstein who took up that challenge, and it makes me wonder on what basis are artists being selected for these performances? All work with performance but to date they seem to have little if any experience of networked performance or indeed embrace the new technologies that it represents. Why do we not see at least one artist from this area who would, given the chance, be able to explore the full potential and scope of the online?

Note that the video of the performance above seems to have been poorly trimmed and the performance itself starts 36 minutes 40 seconds into the video. The next Tate Live event will be on Thursday the 28th of June at 20:00 BST (GMT +1) by artist Harrell Fletcher.

    Posted by: Garrett @ 10:34 pm

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