MAstars 2008: Emma Bennett, MA Performance Writing

MAstars 2008: Emma Bennett, MA Performance Writing Emma Bennett, Thick Description, 2008, performance still

Sue Coulson selects Emma Bennett from University College Falmouth for MAstars

'Thick Description' might be said to be a conversation between a performance and an installation, leaking across two separate venues, each leaning upon and supporting the other, the audience caught in a pause between a visual image and the textual flow. It might simply be a comment on colour and the silly words used to 'describe' tints on a paint chart, or the covering over of the banal with a paint job or just a clever piece of visual writing.

VENUE 1: [You may well ask] 'What is the connection between a few fluffy toys and an extra large paint chart pinned to the wall, and a dead fir tree, wrapped in a piece of orange fur fabric on the floor?' Go to venue 2.

VENUE 2: [You may well think] 'Why is this small diminutive figure standing in such an enormous empty space holding a long length of taped together sheets of paper?' Wait, watch and listen. Full of contradiction; her standing still performance quietly filled the room, the textual chain punctuated with incongruous off key often 'beige' words and funny well timed pauses to stimulate a visual dialogue with the audience. The flow was interrupted by a second female figure quietly intervening from the far end of the room, crossing and intercepting the space to open a window, and pulling in a large unwieldy tree with a thwack, she delivered a non spoken punch line, and quietly walked off again. Go to venue 1.

BETWEEN VENUES 1-2 [You may well see that] Emma Bennett's work does play with visual and textual language, it does spin the viewer along in a series of disparate, funny and calamitous wordplays so that it becomes completely normal (or very beige) to dress up a dead tree in orange synthetic fur, but does one need to scratch very far beneath that metaphoric cultural coat of paint to detect the real, non-fluffy, anti-anthropomorphised rawness of nature?

Selected by Sue Coulson
Published November, 2008

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