2013 - 2015 Charlie Dance: " Where does the image lie?"

Excerpt from Charlie's 20 minute presentation for Do The Right Thing ! ~ DAI's 3 day graduation lectures marathon, July 2015.

The Difficulty of Thinking About Things in a Straight Line, or: Why Have I Decided to Record this Audio With My Windows Open?


In this performance-lecture, Charlie Dance began by sitting on the floor beneath his video work being screened on the wall behind him. Making the audience complicit in the act of attention, he took a photo of the audience with a smartphone, which was a clever way of subtly breaking the “fourth wall.” The video, made up of fragmented scenes, movie and audio quotations, dealt with visual perception and questions of “obfuscation, resemblance, reality, and the trivial.” Through his text he asks: Looking at a straight line what do you see? When we only ever see a portion a greater reality, can we say that our limited perceptive capacities make reality & fantasy into the same thing?

Without vocalizing a single word, Dance invited the audience into an imaginative realm using language games and reversals. Going back to his primary question, one might be convinced after watching his presentation, that the image occupies many locations: sitting behind screens, existing as a trace of movement, crossing borders, hiding in corners, caught in frames, and revered in altars. It is persistent, consuming, irritating, non-linear, and spontaneous.

Maria Hlavajova began by clarifying Dance’s question: Do you mean “lie as in ‘lying down’ or lie as in ‘to tell an untruth’?” The question of truth, Hlavajova asserts, is the most difficult to establish now. Remarking that Dance seemed to want to dethrone the kind of artistic practice that is far from real life, caused her to recalls a 1993 film directed by Martin Šulík, “Everything I Like”. Hlavajova considered the “valuable lineage of warmth,” and remarked that Dance “engaged the audience in a good way – by taking a picture of us, we became ‘things you like’.”

Marina Vishmidt was interested in the absence of the performer and the “grammar of subjectivity” in the film. This caused a kind of “emotional vortex of letting everything in and seeing how to put it back together.” Dance’s performance lecture brought up the question of “how to do art in the now, with things we really like?"

In response to the artist’s question, Alena Alexandrova asks, which image? Reflecting on its ubiquity, she appreciated the “playful mood of putting fragments together,” and the “flurry of themes that we try to focus on somehow.” For Alexandrova, Dance’s work demonstrated a strong sense of play and humor, absurdity, and senselessness. She recalled the experimental films Stefan Themerson (1910-1988) made together with his wife.

As a side remark, Bassam el Baroni couldn’t resist asking Dance – “do you play Minecraft?”

About Do The Right Thing !

Dance's website