Performance and HD Video (7.49)
During week 8 of fig-2 at the ICA in London, the space became a studio in which the soundtrack
to the video Enumerators (2015) was produced and edited.
Images credit: Sylvain Deleu
Text by Jan Verwoert on Enumerators
Give me a clue of what to click on this page, a hint to cue me into the action!
What code must be entered, what button pressed, for life to proceed,
in this city, in this day and age? What if I got the password right,
would it not just make me eligible for entering the next level where new
tests would await me? Now that my fingers have learned to memorise the moves
required to open sesame, what else will they be taught? The correct order in
which to pluck pills from a dispenser box? Uppers first, downers second?
Could the hands not conspire with eyes and ears in finding techniques for
tapping other layers of reality? Call it interface anxiety or click dread:
Edmund Cook perfectly captures such feelings in his video montage cum performance
piece Enumerators (2015). We see a young man arrange strips of cut-up images
on the ground and fidget with hand-sized ergonomically shaped objects,
strange white lumps, over a glass plate. He nervously touches the engravings
in their chalky surface and moves the objects through the air, to test what
results he may obtain. Indeed, his motions prompt responses in the soundtrack.
Electronic sounds, blips and abstract noises accompany his motions, mixed with
voice samples, numbers and fragments of discourse. Cook together with his
collaborator Laurence Byrne recorded the sonic collage live and in situ at fig-2.
What do we have then? A man trapped in a loop between an interface and the signals
he triggers? Perhaps. Yet Cook and Byrne turn a scene of crisis into a scenario
for free improvisation. Enumerators suggests that it takes a kind of magic to
counter the spell which interfaces cast on you: the conjoined intuitions of
two musical minds.