Copyright Kurtis Lesick 2019
Rite de Passage (2019)

A video exploring media and architecture as contestable landscapes

Rite de passage is a video work that explores the initiation of two characters into the archive they are attempting to negate. Blindfolded, they experience the world only through sound and touch. While searching for the origins of mystical sounds they are disrupted by, they come to find materializations of memories of the space. The material record is always fragmentary—it cannot fully capture an original event—details, perspectives, and subjectivities are always missing. The characters can only experience the sounds of the original events while they are unified with them through the physical experience of a common space. The gaps in the record are thus left to be fleshed in through the subjectivities of the characters. In this way, archives are dynamically generated in real time, through the praxis of anyone who experiences them, they are forever re-contextualized and re-authored through such an experience.

The main characters, a woman and a man, experience the world only through sound and touch. They are disrupted from a walk by a third character, the strange, otherworldly sounds of the archive coming from an abandoned building. They enter and explore the space looking for the source of the sounds to stop them. As they discover the source they also reveal, unbeknownst to them that the sounds are materializations of memories of the space—documentation of performances previously located throughout the plant. After they have achieved the goal of stopping the sound the couple is seen dancing to the memory of the sound they have suppressed. 

 

The conception of an archive as an objective material representation of the past is a faulty one. The material record is always fragmentary—it cannot fully capture an original event—details, perspectives, and subjectivities are always missing. Archives are, at best, a diffraction, morphing and bending the meanings and “truth” of the original into something completely new with every experience. In this instance the characters can only experience the sounds of the original events while they are unified with them through the physical experience of a common space. The gaps in the record are thus left to be fleshed in through the subjectivities of the characters. It is a sort of “Plato’s Cave” scenario where our access to the phenomenal world is mediated through a deficiency of senses. There is always a deficit of meaning which must be differentially re-introduced—we are always part of the apparatus which generates the phenomenon of the archive: the archive is inherently altered in our every experience of it. By consequence we are also altered by the experience, the archive being embedded in us.  Thus archives are dynamically generated in real time, through the praxis of anyone who experiences them. They are forever recontextualised and re-authored through such an experience. 

 

This entanglement of subjectivity and objectivity, past and present, author and reader, and meaning as process not product is explored in an absurdist style, a contemporary nod to the work of the Surrealists, Dadaists and Pataphysicists  such as Bunuel, Cocteau, Duchamp, and Jarry. The performers are wearing glasses that also blindfold them so they are unable to see their environment and the archive they are attempting to experience and thwart.

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Produced at the  Koumaria Residency 2019, Sellasia, Greece.
 
Jordan Edge  
Dasha Ilina  
Robert Jedrzejewski  
Tunni Kraus  
Joshua Legallienne  
Kurtis Lesick  
Marili Pizarro  
Georges Salameh  
Nour Sokhon  
Małgorzata Suś  
 
Special thanks to: 
Medeaelectronique 
Vicky Bisbiki  
Michael Higgins
Kleopatra Korai  
Eric Lewis  
Yannis Lolis  
Manolis Manousakis  
Eve Nakou

The 2019 Koumaria residency is organised in partnership with the Onassis Cultural Centre Athens (OCC) in the framework of the INTERFACES project, an international, interdisciplinary project focusing on bringing new music to an extensive range of new audiences. With the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Interfaces unites nine diverse partners from the UK, Germany, France, Cyprus, Belgium, Romania, Austria and Greece with main objective to explore innovative ways of introducing audiences to the work of cutting-edge musicians and sound artists and engage new audiences of all ages to the music of our time. 

www.interfacesnetwork.eu