We Record Ourselves
We Record Ourselves (screendance)
Single screen film; 8mins/stereo.
Summary Statement (300 words)
We Record Ourselves is a screendance by Simon Ellis, Natalia Barua, Owa Barua and Katrina McPherson. The film was made in response to two related events: 1) the failed attempt in 1997 by McPherson to get a film commission about the largely overlooked work and life of dance artist Margaret Morris;1 2) a request made to McPherson by Horsecross Arts (Perth, Scotland) in 2015 to respond to the Margaret Morris archive.
The research is an original concatenation of screendance and archival practices that reveals ideas, practices and experiences to do with memory and disappearance, the performance and recording of contemporary human lives, experimental screendance practices, and the ghosts of our artistic influences.
The work was developed through practice-research in which the artists created and sustained a series of unique performance-as-archive practices. These practices involved the four artists working together collaboratively and simultaneously as performers, archivists, camera operators and editors. The multi-perspective materials, screens, bodies, and texts in the film are a distinctive collection of moving images – part performance, part archive, and part screendance – that together function “as the kind of bodily transmission conventional archivists dread.”2
- To develop, practice, perform and edit living and recorded archives of historical and contemporary performance.
- To develop processes and strategies that reveal the conditions of production of the work, and build these into the form-content of the output.
- To examine the means by which performed materials and ideas might be archived within and outside of the body, and to entangle technological and corporeal mediated presences in order to imagine and display a screen-based embodied archive.
- Schneider, R. (2011) Performing Remains. New York: Routledge, p.105
We Record Ourselves was also re-developed as two other versions: a twenty-two screen edit presented at Threshold Artspace, and an eight screen media-wall edit (7m high) presented at Bath Spa MediaWall.
- Twenty-two screen format: vimeo.com/188698745
- Eight screen format (7m high) for Bath Spa MediaWall: vimeo.com/220272769
- Production Credits:
- Performance: Katrina McPherson, Owa Barua, Natalia Barua and Simon Ellis
- Choreography and Direction: Simon Ellis, Katrina McPherson, Natalia Barua and Owa Barua
- Dubbing mixer: John Cobban
- Commission: Horsecross Arts for Threshold artspace
- Length: Single screen: 8:25 minutes; 22 screen: 5 minutes; MediaWall edit: 8 minutes
- Première: Movement exhibition, 15 Oct 2016 – 15 Jan 2017 at Threshold Artspace, Perth Concert Hall, Scotland. Movement: an homage to Margaret Morris in drama, dance, music and film; curated by Iliyana Nedkova and Wendy Timmons
- Acquisition: Horsecross Arts collection of contemporary art
- Project website: skellis.net/we-record-ourselves/
- Single screen and twenty-two screen format; Perth Concert Hall, Scotland: Movement exhibition at Threshold artspace [15 Oct 2016 – 15 Jan 2017]
- Eight screen format; Bath Spa, England: Journal of Media Practice and MeCCSA Practice Network Annual Symposium [8 June 2017]
- Single screen format; Glasgow, Scotland: The Work Room, Centre for Contemporary Art [24 May 2017]
- Single screen format; Limerick, Ireland: Light Moves Festival of Screendance [5 November 2017]
- Eight screen format; Bath Spa, England: installed on the Bath Spa University Media Wall for the Screendance Symposium [19-21 June 2018]
- Single screen; screened as part of a curated programme of UK and Quebec dance films at Le Festival de Cinema de la Ville de Quebec, Quebec, Canada [14 & 15 September 2019]
- Single screen; Opine Dance Film Festival, brittfishel.com/opine-dance-film-festival, Pennsylvania, USA [20 & 21 March 2020]
- Single screen; Salt Lake Dance Film Festival, Broadway Cinema, Salt Lake City, USA [27 & 28 March, 2020]
- Prizes: Winner, the “MediaWall” competition for the Journal of Media Practice and MeCCSA Practice Network Annual Symposium. It was then re-edited for the 7m tall Bath Spa MediaWall and screened on 8 June 2017.
- Header Image Credit: We Record Ourselves. Screenshot composite: © Simon Ellis (2016)