‘Bodies Pressured’ is an installation performance piece devised by Gabrielle and myself.
Working from the Bruce Nauman piece ‘Body Pressure‘, we devised our own interpretation. First of course we ask Nauman for his permission, which to our obvious delight he gave. Asking of course to see our full proposal. It would have been a killer if then we’d received an email back saying, My God What Do You Think You Are Doing To My Work!! But fortunately we didn’t get that, and were safe to proceed. Proposal Bodies Pressured Updated

Nauman letter

Initial concept was real quite simple. Build a wall, just big enough to contain the both of us. Cover in fabric as a facia. Whilst inside we performed ‘Body Pressure’, we would invite others to do the same the other side. Our first plan was to have the words playing over and over in a loop, from some sort of speaker/amp affair. However we quickly realised we needed a more human touch. Someone who could bring something else to the work. We needed the words outside to react to what was happening, we needed the voice to bring a new delivery that neither Gabrielle or myself could do. Fortunately whilst at University we had a plethora of likely candidates. Narrowed down through people we just liked, to people who knew of or understood the work of Nauman. (There are plenty at uni who would deride his work). Eventually we came up with Demetra Kallitsi. We had originally conceived our chosen person to be a “performance” artist, someone who had some experience with the genre. After all we were asking the person to stand alone next to a black box, fronting out the whole thing whilst we hid inside! But we loved her work, and her voice. Fortunately she said yes! Were we lucky, or did we just choose well?!
Performance then came at the 3rd of the degree shows we took part in. So this was our final act to the Visual Arts course. And a superb one it was. (Facebook . As we get pictures I’ll post them.)
I now have a far greater appreciation for the work of Nauman. Obviously before I’d thought his work of great significance. I’d seen installations of his, read about works, watched numerous YouTube clips. Clowns being an obvious similarity in my work. However, performing this piece brought home the power of it. These words I’d ran through a thousand times now read out whilst trapped in that confined, hot, dark space took on a magical quality. Then the reaction of people. Those that engaged quite literally got lost in their experience. I can’t thank enough those that did, especially those that started it off at first. It is quite a leap of trust to venture that close to someone you don’t know, someone who’s intentions you are so unsure of, someone who now you were only separated from by thin thin veil of fabric that constituted our wall. (Fortunately we got to speak to those that had been the first to experience, those we had shared the most intimate of times with, their thoughts on the experience adding yet more to the piece.)
Whilst we of course filmed the event, until we have edited and shown Bruce Nauman the results. I can not post it here. It just wouldn’t be right after he was so kind as to grant his permission to then just broadcast his work without so much a word. If you would like us to bring our wall to an event, just ask, it is awaiting its next outing!

Still taken from video footage of ‘Bodies Pressured’ performance piece.
Islington Mill, June 2012

Interesting links to work of Nauman…..

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