Off: On (2016), 20- mins/ 20-mins/ 30-mins, Artsadmin, London, UK. Live performance festival by Stakehouse Live 2016.

Photography. Manual Vason

Critical Interruptions Vol 1

We begin from the position that criticism is a political event, formed at the confluence of artist practice and the politics it lives in, attacks, reinforces or creates. We begin from the premise that the ecology of criticism is not one of journalism, but of art practice. We begin with a disregard for criticism as secluded work and instead, propose criticism as a collaborative practice.‘Critical Interruptions Vol I’ follows 'Steakhouse: Live Writing’, a pilot project undertaken as part of Steakhouse Live’s 'LONGER WETTER FASTER BETTER’ festival in October 2016. The publication brings together artists, curators and producers, writers and critics including Palin Ansusinha, Katy Baird, Katharina Joy Book, Jennifer Boyd, Jasmine Shigemura Lee, Emma Selwyn and Malik Nashad Sharpe to think through their relationship with criticism. Launch: 9 may, 19:00, LADA.

A Close Encounter: Eunjung Kim’s Off: On

My experience with Eunjung Kim’s piece falls under the term ‘encounters’ more than the forms of a ‘performance’ I’ve experienced these past 2 days. There was no conventional sense of walking through a closed door or dark curtains which signify a ‘performance space’; I was simply on my way back to my writing desk, after leaving Sandra Johnston’s performance in the Fireroom, when I encountered Kim lying on the floor just by the the staircase.

Covered in bright yellow goo, she curled and stretched. The gooey paint sticks to the entire length of her body. It was a slow process in which Kim slowly slithers on the floor, stopping each passerby, causing confusion, intrigue, or disinterest.

The colour yellow reminded me of what it signified for Nicholas Tee in his performance ‘No, I don’t speak Chinese’ - does the colour yellow also weigh her down like the goo that restrains her from moving forward?

Kim is moving, very slowly, on the edge. The edge between fiction and reality, and the boundaries of cultural identities.

It has come to a point where my thoughts coagulate; brain is jelly-fied.

- Palin Ansusinha

Snapshot from a Roaming Piece / Eunjung Kim

Eunjung Kim is at the top of the stairs, four stories up, tucked away by a fire door (stuck to the door is a hazard warning sign). In complete contrast to the white paint and wood floors and metal handrails of the office spaces and corridors, Kim is covered in a thick, gungy, rubbery, latex-type material, that has been coloured pink with food dye, or fake blood, or paint. The small plastic bottles that contained this liquid still have some residues in them, and they sit close by; alchemy has recently taken place.

Kim rubs the material off and on and up and down her body continuously from knees to belly. Suddenly, she slips and falls to the floor. The immediate stain of a kicked heel rises on the skirting board. It must be a stunt but it feels like it was a real. One of the other handful of people watching motions to ask other watchers if Kim has actually hit her head. I can see Kim breathing. I wasn’t going to stay that long, but the sensation that I’m overwhelmed with, actively now in my body, an apparition from nowhere, is a feeling of responsibility. Kim’s body has become an actual body in a traumatic state that post- intense pushing and pulling of itself has now had an accident; the action of the slip transforms Kim’s body. This quick change causes real emotions to rise immediately in me, and for Kim’s body to be overlaid with the warming silver wraps and body bags and comfort blankets that are used for many other bodies. Bodies in foetal positions and flails of distress. (This is an imagined conceptual zoom).

While Kim is lying on the floor, three people come through a door opposite to watch. As they’ve not witnessed the pushing and pulling and the process and heard her heaving breathing and felt associated with Kim’s tired muscles or seen the fall, they look down on her as if she were a still-body-statue, nothing more—a thing that had never been in movement. Each one of the three people who encounter Kim like this take a photograph and immediately leave.

- Jennifer Boyd

Download the publication for free here.