The Other (2016-21)
 
The Other is a body of work comprised of a performance for camera, a scent narrative, and a fairy tale read collaboratively at a distance, all based on the poem Le Gars (The Kid) written by Marina Tsvetaeva in Prague in 1922. In 2019 received the Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England to develop The Other as a multi-screen piece, plans which had to be re-thought in light of the world pandemic. This became The Stranger. A tale.
 
Read by Theophania Gangbo, Graça Kotseva, and Orlando Gangbo.
 
The Stranger. A tale is my adaptationn of Le Gars for younger audiences. It was written in 2020-2021 during the world pandemic and developed as a way to deliver tailored artwork for home viewing, especially for families with children and young people, that is different to an online exhibtition or watching a film. It is an interactive experience accompanied by a scent narrative sent by post.
 

The Stranger. A tale. Part one PDF


The Stranger. A tale. Part two PDF

 
Anyone can be part of this project - read the story by yourself before you read it to / with your kids. When you do, please make a recording, audio or video, and send it my way (link opens contact page). The video does not need to include participants' faces, or to be well-produced - it can be made very simply, on your phone, and feature your cat or the corner of your sofa. What is important is to capture your reading time together.
 
The Other development journey documentation / close fold out
 
 
Pre-DYCP development

Le Gars (The Kid) is a supernatural love story: a young girl, Maroussia, falls in love with a ghoul and sacrifices her life and that of her family while protecting his secret. There is a clear bifurcation between the creature that is the ghoul, and the orderly society to which Maroussia belongs.

In Matters of Care (pp. 32-33) Maria Puig de la Bellacasa recounts Latour’s work, which might help us understand these binaries: ‘…We remain trapped in binary oppositions, in the perception that in order to account for phenomena we need to bridge the gap between two worlds. And even though bridging, we still tend to give one side the power to know, and even do, the other: nature explains society (or vice versa).’

Opera singer Latana Amari Phoung and i read the poem Le Gars while adjusting to each other's physical presence. At one point Latana remarks that the poem is very cinematic in its landscape, it’s full of textures; we take this on board; we use our bodies to understand the trauma the characters went through, their dilemmas and decisions; we practice trust (i walk backwards with my eyes shut) and our ability to read each other in the space. 

It is not until the end of the second part of the poem that the reader learns of Maroussia's resurrection, and that, once again defying the social system she has been brought up to obey, she takes the opportunity to re-join her love, in love and in death. Maroussia gains agency via becoming 'an other' (she dies and comes back to life by his will / curse, only to choose death again); he, in turn, gains agency of his own ceasing to be an unwelcome guest but becoming instead a person worthy of love, care, and devotion, yet only to her - Maroussia.

This poem also makes an appearance in another work of mine, with grandfather (2017), where my granddad reads out fragments from my translation of Hélène Cixous' essay Love of the Wolf, in which she analyses Le Gars (Stigmata, 1998, pp.70-82).

With gratitude to everyone at The Showroom and Emily Pethick (director, 2008 - 2018) personally for hosting our shoot the gallery studio.
Camera by Katherine Fishman, sound recording and mastering by Giles Bunch, performers Latana Amari Phoung and Olga Koroleva.

 

The Other has developed over the years in conversation with many wonderful people. It was first presented to the public as a single-screen moving image installation at the School of Art, London Metropolitan University in April 2019 as part of Open Field residency. It was shown alongside Portrait of Giant Kelp. Herbal tea was served.

Images by Preeti Tak © 2019
 
In June 2019 The Other was screened at In the Midst of Damage – Proposition for a Peer-led Working Group, an at-home gathering organised and hosted by artist and friend Sonia Levy, attended by Hermione Spriggs, Helena Hunter, Rachel McRae, Elizabeth Atkinson, Sam Smith, Nella Aarne, Fiona MacDonald, and Eric Faden. Image by Nella Aarne © 2019
 
Post-DYCP development
Later that year I received the Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England to develop The Other as a multi-screen piece, plans which had to be re-thought in light of the world pandemic. This became The Stranger. A tale.
 
The Stranger. A tale is my adaptationn of Le Gars for younger audiences. It was written in 2020-2021 during the world pandemic and developed as a way to deliver tailored artwork for home viewing, especially for families with children and young people, that is different to an online exhibtition or watching a film. It is an interactive experience accompanied by a scent narrative sent by post.
   

The Stranger. A tale. Part one PDF


The Stranger. A tale. Part two PDF

 
Anyone can be part of this project - read the story by yourself before you read it to / with your kids. When you do, please make a recording, audio or video, and send it my way (link opens contact page). The video does not need to include participants' faces, or to be well-produced - it can be made very simply, on your phone, and feature your cat or the corner of your sofa. What is important is to capture your reading time together.
 
 

The Stranger. A tale. Part one (9mins 46secs) read out by Olga Koroleva, Lauren Tenn, Kate Paxman, David Harbott, Layan Harman, and Naomi Frears during my online masterclass for Cine Sisters South West on 29 May 2021. 
 
 
Close documentation fold out
 

 
 
 
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