Telepresence in Performance live broadcast by Johannes Birringer, The Performance Space Sydney 2007
I stood alone in a room with a camera propped on a round, chest height, drinks table. I dressed in a neutral suit and flesh-toned skull cap. My body was lit with two direct beams from chrome birdies. The camera was within arm’s reach of me. I covered the camera lens with petrified samples of water collected from various water-holes, baths and fountains across Brisbane. Each sample had been set in a small round dish with gelatine. I pressed the small water jellies between coloured lighting gels and hung them in front of the camera lens. Manipulating areas of distortion and clarity I moved my body to alter the moving screen-based painting.
Listening to ‘Dolphin Ascension’ (2001) by Steven Page [www.aquavisionmusic.co.uk] I performed in front of the blue gels. My choreography is repetitive, whimsical and light – mimicking gestures associated with underwater performance.
By contrast the second movement choreographies are much more violent and passionate. They are performed in front of the red gel. I listened to ‘Kyrie 1’ (14th century) by Guillaume de Machaut, arranged and performed by the Kronos Quartet [LP 7559-79457-2]. I explored rhythmic extremes and inner emotional turbulences. I felt like I was sliding sideways between control and chaos, lust and love, loss and longing, fighting and pacifying, caressing and distorting, gestures of inversion and extroversion, gestures to the self and gestures to the camera/audience. The work has qualities of a dialogue between a self and other; man and woman; individual and state and so on. The end product has a mix of confessional, retribution and sinner qualities flowing on with loving, tender and very reverent virtues. In the last movement I placed an anatomical model heart in front of the camera showing only my hands holding and turning it.
Both the Time_Place_Space#3 and RawSpace Residency investigations led to the collaboration of Petrification with Lawrence English presented at ARC Biennale, Brisbane 2005 where Pell's entire body was set in a gel medium.