Giles Bailey presents works from his ongoing project Talker Catalogue, which proposes aberrant re-readings of performance art’s histories.
Referring to works such as Vito Acconci’s Undertone or Chantal Akerman’s film about Pina Bausch, Bailey constructs monologues that subjectively rework the material. The performances highlight overlooked aspects and create unexpected connections. Bailey suggests an alternative model for the assembling of history in the making.
“There seems to be a promise of highly organised information, plotted sequentially and presented as a supposedly coherent history of performance. At an initial glance this all seemed most satisfactory but after pausing for an instant to assimilate everything before me, I was alarmed to see the little, explanatory threads that connected one thing to another, in a persuasive chain of cause and effect, shimmer under my scrutiny.
These threads began to dissolve and re-order themselves. I turned away to rub my eyes and each time I looked back, exactly the same thing happened: Images failed the performances they promised to document and footnotes, marginalia or spurious anecdotes continually offered alternative, and often much more satisfactory, readings of canonical works. The more material I encountered the more information seemed scattered and disordered. Each attempt to assemble something clear and linear appeared highly subjective and momentary. In picking my way through the scattered archival matter, works began to form with narratives of my own attaching themselves to images I recognised from history books.
These were images that purported to convey events I had never witnessed nor could ever hope to understand in any primary sense. I could see a radical potential to re-imagine the relationship between a constructed history and the document that mediates it. Here the document’s inefficiency to convey the primary experience rather than failing its original condition, offers new possibilities for meaning through its interpretation.” (Giles Bailey)
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