E-motion, is a study of gesture and expression. I wrote to close friends and family during lockdown and asked them to make short videos of themselves performing gestures of intimacy that had become endangered during social distancing. Some gestured toward phantom bodies, others towards the camera, and others reflected the gestures back onto their own bodies. After collecting the videos I went about processing and editing them in an intuitive manner. Not toward a predetermined aesthetic product, rather within the creative process itself I was searching for a feeling of asynchronous collaboration. Of co-presence. The video effects chain is based on the principle of feedback, the process by which one feeds a signal back onto itself, simultaneously amplifying and distorting the original material. I approached this processing at the threshold of recognition, to obfuscate all but fleeting impressions of the original gestures. The goal was not to extract or capture anything essential about the gesture or the person, rather the technical processing became a practice of emotional process-ing, a proxy engagement of intimacy. By emphasizing the slippery places between abstraction and legibility, I found that there is something, at least personally, emotionally activating at the edges of gestures and expressions. They potentialize the emotional body by refusing legibility. A visual echo of the acousmatic question, the body fleetingly emerges from visual rhythmic noise and asks, “what was that?”. It draws me in and forces me to co-create the visual field, to see patterns in the noise. Allusions of bodies, gestures and emotions emerge from rhythmic visual noise. Beckoning the viewer inside, it asks us to look, not just to see. It asks us to listen, not just hear. My approach was informed by Steve Goodman’s characterization of the Black Atlantean conception of noise, not as war or occupation, but as a field of potential, a field from which rhythm, community, and the potential for resistance arises. With both the sonic and visual components I was interested in replicating this process. I can’t say whether I was successful, or even to what extent it is helpful to even conceptualize resistance to neoliberalism as “productive”, but the piece was nonetheless a personal intervention on the effective isolation that is both a cornerstone of the legacy of neoliberalism and a lived reality for all of us today.
The audio includes electroagnetic recordings of the materials used to generate the video and audio, namely my laptop and various power sources.