Crush, developed with choreographers Alice Heyward and Megan Payne, digital video with stereo sound (9 minutes), temporary fencing, bollards and velvet ropes, performance, 2019.
Crush began with an interest in crowd behaviour—particularly in instances in which the crowd becomes dangerous and causes a crush, such as at concerts, rallies, pilgrimages, etc.—and developed harnessing tools of crowd control to explore emotional and corporeal unsettling. The usual reaction of political powers to a crowd crush is to evoke the image of an uncontrollable mob, assigning blame to those that lost their lives and heightening political tensions, revealing a state-level denial of the vulnerability of crushing.
I relate these crushes to the condition of ‘having a crush’, both being expressions of the projection of desire on the distant subject. To ‘have’ a crush presents an impossible ownership of an idea, or surface of a person. A crush is similar in its corporeal and spatial sensations to a crowd crush: shortness of breath, sweating, feeling un-moored, scattered, being not in control of oneself.
More of my thinking on this work can be found in an essay written as part of the works development, here.
Crush was developed with Alice Heyward and Megan Payne—together we worked their choreographic project Mattering into the context of my work. More information on Mattering and it’s lives and developments outside of Crush can be found here, Mattering (the poem) can be read here.
Above performance documentation stills courtesy of Rob Frantzeskos.
Documentation of ropes and bollards installation by Keelan O’Herir.
All other images artist’s own.
This work was produced for the 2019 iteration of Gertrude Contemporary’s Octopus Program, curated by Joel Stern.