Working together: Laurent Goldring & Isabelle Schad
Working together is dedicated to the long collaboration between visual artist and philosopher Laurent Goldring and choreographer Isabelle Schad. From the vast visual pool that has been produced during a collaboration that began in 2008 and continues to this day, a new selection of video loops and photographs is presented.
A parallel and transversal narrative made of images is created.
The text below, originally written by Goldring at the invitation of the Sophiensäle in 2011, is republished on this occasion. It contains conceptual foundations for Schad and Goldring’s “working together” that are still valid today.
An answer by Laurent Goldring
When you reverse the relationship between image and body, and get totally rid of any resemblance or likeness link between both, it is not only the whole of the notion of representation which is blown up : all the connected notions of author, actor, politics, piece, public/private space, collaboration, work, doing, subjectification and intersubjectivity are beginning to melt into a frightful jam.
The difficulty is to deal with this clay, and the hardening of the liberal emphasis on ownership and authorship, with sharp eye kept on the artists who for most of them stand happily as the main alibi for copyrights, does not help.
A question as frequent and as easy as «how do you work together ? » takes all those unsolved matters for granted and it is extremely important to resist its harmless appearance ; as it is to resist any type of granted communication, probably today the main mean of supervision. As an artist you are entitled to break whatever rule you want, as long as you communicate according to those very same rules.
The answer for the moment would be : we are not working with the other, we are working on the other. Each of us has hs own body of work, hs own path, hs own direction. The piece is not a collaboration, neither a compromise, nor a common achievement: it is in fact two totally different pieces, event if they look exactly the same on the stage where they take place simultaneously. Those aesthetic experiments can open the gate to new ways of thinking, in aesthetic, undoubtedly, but also in various fields, like politics, or erotics.
For all those reasons there is quite a lot of opacity in the (mis)understandings behind the work, so I proposed Isabelle to take this opportunity to sort out what I think I understood about her practices/ideas with the three Unturtleds and we agreed on me writing about that and her adding comments if comments were necessary.
Her body work has been, during the successive Unturtleds, more and more informed by embryology and the memories left by the differentiation of tissues, organs and systems in the course of the growth of the body.
The point of departure had been : how to make the internal vibrations and rhythms visible, without representing them ? To work on the double membrane structure which is the sign of the individualisation of a body part was a first answer. It brought a lot of hints on the relations between inside and outside. This ultimately lead to the/a solution : to consider the costume as a second layer of skin, and at the same time as a first prothesis, as a first layer of non-body outer space.
Next step had been to dig further into the notion of « re-membrane », membrane as inside swallowing its own outside,: each membrane of the body is a re-membrance of transformations taking place in the course of the development of the embryo. Those transformations are multiple, but they have one thing in common : they challenge directly our common sense on space, on individuality and on the body itself.
Connections between organs, the way they evolve into one another, the changing of shapes like gloves, knots, moebius strips or leyde bottles, mimetism between cells are each time a process counter-intuitive, unpredictable for common sense. In that sense embryology the way she understood and practiced it was very close to some freudian attempts to draw the spatiality of the mind, and some researches in topology.
As an answer to the three invitations by Heike Albrecht at Sophiensäle, Isabelle for second and third versions of Unturtled began to gather the very memory of the piece, drowning its archive into the fabric of the costume, swallowing its own history and changing the relation between the inside and the outer space.
Sometimes the costume turns into a stage the body is in, sometimes the body swallows the stage and becomes the space itself, sometimes the stage becomes a body and re-membranes the movement.
It could be developed much more, but this is somewhat where I tend to be driven…
First published in: Formen der künstlerischer Zusammenarbeit. Sophiensäle 2007-2010, herausgegeben von Heike Albrecht und Matthias Dell, Verlag Theater der Zeit, 2010