, 21mins Double channel projection
‘Standing, knees slightly bent, feet flat on the floor hips distance apart. Bring your attention to your natural breath and observe.’
Chris Dyson’s film ‘SOFT PASTE’ is concerned with changes in how the self is constructed within societies. During the film, a single actor assumes multiple characters through a script that draws on questions of personal and political action from the 16th to 21st century. The film has been presented in various formats both single channel and multiple screen, the films play at seemingly the same pace but traces the performance through two separate takes, highlighting slight nuances in the actor’s performance.
Throughout the film, the function of laughter within a contemporary socio economic space is repeated; from Bahktin’s work on Rebelais and earlier political satirists to self actualizing demonstrations and laughing yoga. The actor performs demonstrations and moves through characters both recognizable and entirely provoked.
In a film that takes a decidedly abstruse and mordant tone, perhaps it is in ruminations on the carnivalesque that the constant shape shifting of the actor’s persona hits the rare unaffected space. For the artist, this ambiguity of the masked persona proposes the question of ownership and ones ability to take agency within contemporary social frameworks.
from Chris Dyson