Akeroyd Collection


Joan Jonas, My New Theatre V, Moving In Place (Dog Dance), 2002-2005

An Etoile De Dakar song plays throughout this video, rising and falling in volume as the camera jump-cuts between interior and exterior scenes. Etoile De Dakar was a famous Senegalese band from the 70s that gave fame to Youssou N’Dour and the wider Mbalax music genre. As the samba rhythms and brass flood the artist’s studio, we see her move and dance among staged and placed props, a plant, a day bed, and a statue of a horse. The artist occasionally holds props and engages in fluid, improvised moves that occasionally repeat in slight variations. The camera then jumps to the view from a slow-moving car window, looking out into the arid desert and as this happens, the music is muffled and made quieter as if to suggest that although we are elsewhere, we are still connected to the studio, a kind of transportation via ritual and dance to another place entirely. This back and forth continues. Each time, the camera angle and props in the studio are slightly altered, which in turn alters the dancing. A dog is periodically in shot, watching bemused or moving between the set piece objects. Each time we are returned outside, we see different signs of life; motorhomes or people gathering. Occasionally the music disappears and we hear the wind or distant human voices. Originally screened as part of a larger sculptural installation, the film appeared inside a perspective viewing box. These devices set the audience up in the mode of viewing theatre. The effect of watching Joan Jonas perform for camera in this context offers a more theatrical mode of address. This allows questions to circulate around ritual and identity. When viewed this way, these affective tools and signs are able to transport us spatially and historically via the materials conjured on this proxy stage.

MediumPainted wooden box, painted wooden trestles, video on DVD (colour/sound), DVD player, LCD monitor, speakers
Duration6 minutes 11 seconds
Editionof 3 + 2 APs