Gel Dancing with Open Systems

Angela Hodgson-Teall and Miles Coote will explore their practices of drawing, intimacy and touch, using medical and interpersonal experiences from Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London in February 2018.

Gel Dancing with Open Systems, Tate Exchange

The installation was set up as a revolving clinic.  Participants entered the white inflatable performance space in which exercises took place.  One by one, forty five participants re-enacted a ‘Gel Dancing’ performance, to cleanse their hands and measure their pulses.  

An intimate painting of a seated figure and a dog in a bedroom with a large window was displayed on an easel.  Angela then took the participants through the ‘Double-Blind Drawing’ process in which each participant lay on a large roll of paper, holding a pencil in each hand, to draw circles of infinity (figures of eight).  She asked permission to palpate the spleen of the participant, in a one-to one drawing performance. Life-saving role play was acted and re-enacted when the participant chose either, to give ‘emergency’ birth (to an idea) or ‘enact’ a cardiac arrest – at which point the participant was quickly led to the poem, ‘The Idea’ by Mark Strand. This poem introduced a transcendental experience of the idea, focusing the choreography of our curated performances in a ‘third space’.  

The participant was then asked to imagine their idea within the intimate space of the bedroom. They were given a traced copy of the painting and provided with drawing materials.  A quiet but communal space, with table and chairs, became an area to draw/write a reflective note/talk/participate or pulse. We discussed ‘Open Systems’ and Heterotopias, using a psychoanalytical approach to drawing.  Individuals or small groups experienced their own philosophies of change. A feeling of relief and relaxation was experienced by many after the performance.



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