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Get your teeth into identity

The final vent in the Transition project was themed around Identity with exhibition of works from Steve Godfrey & Roy Wallace. Steve Godfrey explored Vampiric Presence where he describes the existence of the Vampire subculture as prevalent now as it was 15 years ago when he first did a series of picture for The London Vampire group. Vampire members are a gathering of darkened souls who bear an interest in all things Vampiric, whether it’s the love for the literature or the movies or those who prefer to delve deeper.

His series of images were shot of traditional black and white film to recall the atmosphere associated with all thing dark. The photographs on display at the event were traditionally hand printed in the darkroom by Steve himself which looked stunning when exhibited. Steve will be exhibiting more of his work at the Monad Symposium and Transition event late Aug/September (dates tbc) all are most welcome to join the children of the night.

Roy Wallace’s Expanded Documentary exhibition, used still images from his documentary work Modern Angels as part of his PhD research into documentary practice. The images portrayed his documentary subjects through body art forms including tattooing, scarification and body manipulation. The underlying theme of the exhibition was ‘body as the last bastion of individual resistance’ which was also explored through the screening of his 40min documentary work.

Modern Angels: A documentary exploration of how individuals use their bodies as sites of resistance to dominant cultural forces through tattooing, the transdermal, body art and body modification in the Kingdom of Belgium.

Wallace’s work examines aspects of ‘body ritual’ as a means of expression and resistance to prevailing dominant cultural and how ancient ritualistic practices have evolved into mainstream art forms and anti-religious symbolic resistance at the second millennium of Christ. The work will explore issues of identity and religious/spiritual belief associated with such body art practices and their symbolic meaning across different ritualistic activities including, tattoo, piercing, branding, scarification, performance and within these particular elements to further explore the nuance of practice between different approaches.

The implicit theme underlying this work embraces practice as performance as seen through the eyes of a number of key participants active in the Belgian Underground scenes which cross-over and interconnect with a range of complimentary subcultural movements including, punk, goth, rockabilly and various sexually explicit transdermal groups who engage in ‘performance’ as both ritual and practice involving the ‘spectator’ and in my case the ‘documenter’ which poses a range of ethical and moral considerations when documenting and recording such activities, as acknowledged or unacknowledged participant.

The screening of the documentary work was then followed by a live acoustic performance by Tom & Nicole. Two of Northampton’s up and coming musicians and students on the University of Northampton’s popular music degree programme. They delivered a stunning performance of acoustic guitar and vocals which captivated and engaged the audience throughout.

Next to the stage was Sefanie Elrick who’s stunning performance ‘reinState’ hinges on the idea of two people meeting, fusing and then ‘reinstating’ themselves through dance. She felt that, performing the work alone would have been impossible and so she conceived a way of doubling herself, keeping the ‘restoration of an identity’ idea key.

The mirrors she uses were clearly markers of the four directions with the mirror in the centre represented herself and in Stefanie’s own words, It became clear that before something could be reinstated it first needs to be changed or broken down in some way. The verb itself indicates a shift of power, something that has been removed or disrupted, being given back.

She started to play with the idea of a person who has never seen their reflection in a mirror before, like a child or an animal or someone stepping back into consciousness after a long period of mental disorientation. She liked the idea of enacting the mirror stage, treating her reflection as something alien and then explored what it would be like to fall in love with this reflection and even to be rejected by it.

She performs to all kinds of tracks from Public Image Ltd’s ‘Death Disco’ and ‘Fodderstompf’ to Tom Waits ‘Hell Broke Luce’. Through this musical collage a story started to emerge; of awakening, of ‘coming back into’ my body, dancing, encountering the other, trying to befriend it, falling in love, becoming more and more frustrated as it remained cold and aloof and eventually destroying it. The audience watched in silence as she performed her work and I for one was in awe when she finally walked through the broken glass and off the stage. In her own words, The answer then became clear. I could reinstate my identity by reshaping the broken fragments in anyway I liked. I rebuilt a third entity, unlike myself or my reflection, a third person, an abstract deity and a consciousness beyond myself.

Not to be missed at the Monad/Transition event later this year!

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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