Sensational Bodies

Sensational Bodies was an evening of performances and screenings by Adam Patterson (Barbados/Netherlands) and Rubiane Maia (Brazil/UK) curated by ICF curators Adelaide Bannerman and Jessica Taylor for the 2018 Jerwood Staging Series.

Adam Patterson presented a new performance, Bikkel (2018) and a film entitled Lookalook (2018), while Rubiane Maia premiered the performance This voice cuts me off, removing my feet from their place (2018) and screened Stones across the ocean: Northern hemisphere, part 1 (2017). Both artists explored the effects of colonisation on society and on the body through the establishment of power structures that breed violence, displacement and defensiveness. In their practices, both Patterson and Maia recognise the tendency to surround oneself with a cocoon or shell as protection against being trampled by these forces and consider forms of resistance, such as movement, understanding and love, that can enable them to learn to unlearn ways of seeing and being in these spaces in order to survive.

An interview between Adam Patterson and Jessica Taylor can be found here and an interview between Rubiane Maia and Adelaide Bannerman can be found here. 

Photos © Hydar Dewachi

Rubiane Maia
This voice cuts me off, removing my feet from their place. Performance in collaboration with Adelaide Bannerman (2018)

On January 15th 2018, Rubiane Maia committed to write every day for a year. It didn’t matter if only one word, one sentence, or several pages. She simply sat and wrote without having a definite direction. The performance ‘This voice cuts me off, removing my feet from their place’ initiated by the desire of weaving fragmented texts without beginning or end, into a personal narrative full of enquiries about life, memory, traumas and institutional power.

Stones across the ocean: Northern hemisphere, part 1. Film (2017) Throw a stone into the sea.

Repeat throwing. – Throw another stone into the sea. Repeat the act. – Repeating. – Repeat. – Stretch your arm toward the sky. – Throw this stone into the sea. – Gazing or observing the horizon. – Throw each stone into the sea with as much force as possible so they can continue their journey into the unknown. – Breathe. – Throw another stone into the sea so that together they can sail with less solitude. – Throw a lot of stones into the sea. – A deep breathing. – Repeat the gesture, relinquishing the state of fatigue, of immobility, and imagining that each stone will take the form of a small submarine cruising far away. – Distancing from the mainland. The video ‘Stones across the ocean’ was made in September 2017, five days before the birth of my son. In the folding of time between the present and my projected future.

Adam Patterson
Bikkel. Performance (2018)

Responding to particular constructions of masculinity, Adam Patterson presents a new performance entitled Bikkel. Its namesake referring to a man with an inauthentic strength or toughness, Bikkel adopts and re-imagines the motif of the sea urchin, depicting the spiked marine animal not as hard, brittle and defensive but as elastic and porous, with the capacity to be held and squeezed. Patterson’s approach to masculinity in this formation of Bikkel is inspired by Audre Lorde’s turn to love and softness as a means of survival and a tool of resistance against social expectations of gender.

Lookalook. Performance, digital video (2018). Documented by Logan C Thomas.

Lookalook documents a performative walk in Bridgetown, Barbados, using masquerade to characterise and personify the violence and (dis)possession experienced in being looked at, in being the object of another’s gaze. ‘Stinklook’ and ‘cut-eye’ are invoked by Lookalook, a monster born to give these mannerisms a sense of mythology.