body:language talk (Tim Etchells)


Even though nothing revelatory was said or discussed, this talk with Tim Etchells fascinated me; he knows his language and exactly how to use it about his own work. I find this very interesting.

He discussed his visual art and performance practice, talking a lot about audience responsibility; through a clear and simple language, in his work Etchells hands over the responsibility of creating a narrative to his audience. He does this for example by leaving gaps in a storyline for people to fill them in. ''Works without gaps are boring'', I'm surprised to hear someone so serious use that word 'boring', normally it is so easy just to blame the audience, to say that they do not engage enough, rather than admit that the thing really is boring. I am entertained by the word 'boring'.

At the end Etchells brought up his 2009 dance work In Pieces, which he made in collaboration with ex-Rosas dancer Fumiyo Ikeda. I have not seen this piece, but from what Etchells said about it and the extracts he showed, I have a feeling that this time he neglected to do the above; offering just enough material for the audience to build on and imagine a narrative on their own. It seems to me that in this dance a sparse use of words accompanied by abstract movements carried out in silence, gaps are what makes the piece and this leaves the audience with too much of a responsibility; they have to fill in everything but the gaps.

But as I said, I have not seen it.


Tim Etchells – body:language talk, 11 October 2010, Lilian Baylis Studio, London