September 8-18, 2010
Selective Memory is a real time video performance about nostalgia for relationships that never took place, events which never happened; a film which was never made, but which everyone remembers; exploiting the misappropriation of “real” sounds and images to confound, distort, remake and ultimately erase the truth. Inside a claustrophic “film set” comprised of computer-controlled moving cameras, a shapeless dioramic background, embedded monitors and microphones, a single performer establishes a hyper-intimate relationship with the cameras; and a simultaneously elusive/remote relationship with the live audience. Using simple cinematic techniques – extreme closeups, slow pans, jump cuts, and tiny movements – all executed in real time – the performer cycles through a series of meticulously choreographed gestures in tandem with composed “shots” designed not to construct a narrative but rather to suggest an endless number of possible narratives, creating an enormous blank space in which the spectator will imagine characters, relationships, conflicts and emotions that are never literally present. Through the gradual repetition and manipulation of images, the “literal” materials of cinema – locations, backgrounds, sets, establishing shots etc. – are discarded, leaving only the camera and the performer in a sustained, neutral but intensely focused exchange that resembles a high wire act or an oscillating sine wave; erasing the distance between camera, performer and spectator; and in the end, erasing all traces of meaning, leaving only light.
Concept, Direction, Sound: Brian Rogers. Director of Photography, Performance: Madeline Best. Technology Design: Mike Rugnetta. Costumes: Maggie Dick. Set Design: Brad Kisicki. Lighting Design: Chloe Z. Brown.
Selective Memory was nominated for a New York Dance and Performance (aka “Bessie”) Award in 2010.
Selective Memory was reprised as part of PS122?s COIL Festival in January 2011.
“The Mystery of a Face, Up Close” – Alastair Macaulay, New York Times