The Spy School exercise #2
Two Capoeiristas are playing outdoors, in the dark, in front of the Wilberforce House Museum, which is located at River Hull. Their costumes incorporate wearable night-vision-enabled cameras that trace and transmit their movements. The piece is a thematic exploration of the contradictions and conjunction of spectacle and surveillance, and a demonstration of the ruses by which 'data-subjects' can slip their shadows, masking their movements and intentions, while remaining highly visible.
Capoeira is a discourse of dissimulation and resistance. Drawing on martial, musical, religious and dance forms from communities along the slave routes that reached from coast to coast across the Atlantic, deep into the African and Brazilian interiors, its martial implications had to be disguised as recreational, quasi-religious dance forms. It is a ruse, a camouflage, double-talk. When Capoeira was outlawed, the stakes were raised - execution and amputation were among the penalties for playing -- it became a form that had to hide itself; emerge, take shape, and disperse. Strategies of dissimulation characterise the encounter between participants as well as those between the form and structures of societal authority. Each dancer is a shadow that traces the motion of the other, suddenly to slip out of synch, surprise and trip the body that cast it.
Behind the projection backdrop, the huge South facing facade of the Rank Hovis Building, Lord Rank carried out early media experiments. A filmmaker and mogul, among his fascinations were the possibilities of the production and exhibition of 'religious films'.
31 Jan 2003: As part of the SPEECHLESS commissions by HTBA, The Spy School # exercise 2 was shown in Kingston Upon Hull, as projection in public space (Rank Hovis Building) and on cable television (Kingston Intercative TV, Timebase Channel)