Touch of Recession

movement film
super 8mm

A movement film comprised of three acts, where each dancer choreographs a piece dedicated to a part of their body that they’ve neglected or overlooked. The title ‘Touch of Recession’ interprets the Portuguese translation of the word ‘curfew’ (toque de recolher). The text in the film studies the embodiment of restriction, regulation and impediment. The visual language is crafted from hand-processed super-8 film, and the score features a modular synth composition by Kari Watson, performed in a quadraphonic speaer array at the Bond Chapel in Chicago, Illinois.

Movement & Photography by Haley Dennis, Kristen Bernier, Lua Borges
Hand-processed & Edited by Lua Borges
Score by Kari Watson
Scan by Nicki Coyle

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artist statement

This project came to be through the collaboration between myself and movement artists Haley Dennis and Kristen Bernier, as we joined forces to explore the nuances of what happens when we practice performing for and facing ourselves. Initially, our focus was on the cycles of imitation, performance, and acting as a body language of the everyday life. We held monthly meetings for over a year to delve into why, at times, we find ourselves acting as 'bad actresses' in our own lives. Our methods included self-documentation, journaling, embodiment practices, and communal stillness.

During one of our meetings, we explored the sensation of abandoning the self and searched for our inner patterns for doing so. Personally, I realized that my body functions as a whole as well as separate pieces, resulting in integrated and disintegrated movement. I began to question if there's a part of my body that is psychologically left out when in motion – is it moving the other way, or perhaps not moving at all? While physically impossible, mentally, it happens all the time. We constantly neglect some part of ourselves. I pondered if the existence of the mind allows for the forgetting of the body. When was the last time you thought about every single inch of skin that encompasses you? I brought up these thoughts to Kristen and Haley with the intention of each of us finding a way to embody what we usually disembody. The results are captured in this film; each of us filmed and consulted with each other throughout the process. I then took the film and hand-processed it myself, deepening the corporeal element of this project.

The disconcerting score comes from composer and sound artist Kari Watson, from a performance at the Bond Chapel in Hyde Park, Chicago. Using a quadraphonic speaker array and modular synthesizer, Kari manipulated throat clicking and other bodily sounds. Kari is an artist who explores somatic and kinesthetic behaviors in sound, which organically suited the work that Kristen, Haley, and I were doing. Although our 'dances' were not performed to Kari's piece, during the editing, it felt like all those elements were predestined to be together.

photographs of one of the first practices: