Chasing Waterfalls
BALTIC 39, Newcastle, February 2014

An exploration of movement within the still image through live performance, incorporating elements of dance, textile and print. Forms that displayed simulated imagery, the holograph or anaglyph, were explored alongside imagery that naturally represents movement.

A collaboration with designer Adriana Rojas - LATICA.

Chasing Waterfalls was commissioned by BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art | BALTIC 39 in response to RIFF/T, a two part exhibition about painting, abstraction, representation and their respective expanded fields - curated by The Hang Gang.

Photo: Steven@4130 Photography. For more information see BALTIC Archive video here.
Nicola Singh / CV / perform.nsingh@gmail.com /
I call myself ‘she’ to mark the difference between this writerly identity and the voice of mass-produced fantasies for women. Mass-produced fantasies for women in which an excess of signs and obsessive accumulation leave little time for love, tenderness, and compassion, or even for contemplation. I should like to be this landscape I am contemplating. I should like these same thick fingers. I should like this sky, this quiet water to think themselves with me: to read it to me.

She won’t read it to me. She writes rapidly with her lips apart, nearly shaping words, but she’s Deep Deep Pepsi, hushed in the subterranean passages of her own thought world. When she’s finished, she’s filled the pages of A5 notepaper. A series of events containing answers to when, where, why and whom; giving way to a series of images, which, in their stillness, become disengaged. Entering another realm. The words float free.. Free of an ultimate climax, pot of gold, pay-off, future truth. Getting by, getting on track, getting away from it all, getting real, having an edge, beating the system, checking out. Existing solely in the present.

She rolls the A5 paper into a tight tube and picks up the Vaseline. She smears the outside of the paper tube with the greasy substance. She stands, the opens her legs and gently pushes the story up inside her, pouring the same subject matter from one form of poetic container into another; a subtle incitement to self-management; an arresting image that whispers to us, in an inaudible murmur, “Love me.’

And then a car ad breaks in. The big shiny car whisks along a beautiful wilderness road. It’s body hums along, rages up, deflates in broad daylight.

At this point I stop reading and set the page aside as I speak it. And this is just what we should expect, since voice is a type of straining, which is battered, stretched and percussed to create 9 minutes of a 45-minute radio work. She’s stopped telling the story as she started to think that maybe he’s right, the scenario is formulaic. The question of meaning has been forgotten. Maybe she should add some contextual detail, fill in the characters, make the ficto-critical narrative perform an intensity of circuits, surges and sensations. A palimpsest effect in which one time frame is superimposed on another and the queer effect of that doubled image is reflected in a further frame, set in - caught in a present that began some time ago.

This sentence carries me into the present.

In the present my heart is lithe and fit. It gyrates to mold itself to every new techno-gadget that comes along. The fast, edgy corrections of self-help regimens give it something to do: take an aspirin a day (or not); drink a glass of red wine a day (or not); eat butter, or low-fat margarine, or canola oil; don’t eat carbs at all; eat oatmeal to strip the bad cholesterol from your arteries, wild Alaskan salmon to add the good cholesterol; try antioxidants or Melatonin. In the present my heart becomes hyper-responsive or grows dull with anxiety.
Quoting Bertrand Russell, helps to clarify the point: “I did not know I loved you till I became hungry for the latest garden-variety Pork. You know, the usual; you know the usual. Do you know? If you do, it would seem that you, like ‘you’, are in the know. And if you didn’t know how do you understand ‘you’ in this essay? Are you ‘you’ or not? Under what conditions might you become ‘you’? Perhaps, in the act of writing? Could you take another body and direct it to write just as you write—that is, to move into and through writing just the way that you do? And if you did, the same thick fingers around the same pen, say; the head at precisely the distance from and angle to the paper, could you direct that body to write what you write? Could you direct yourself to write precisely in the way that you write? Is it you who writes what you write?

I write only for myself, like the mythomaniac who while reading a love-letter pretends to forget that she has sent it to herself. If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up . There's a lot of first person singular in this text. The “I” neither represents the sense of a simple, settled congratulatory "I” or a fragmented postmodernist post-individual unreliable narrator. I, like the classical Greek chorus, transmits, interprets and repeats ideas from the main ‘narrative’.