About Trick & Signal

About Trick & Signal: Two people attempt to have a conversation where each has to say exactly what the other says, simultaneously and without having planned what they will say in advance – an action which is, of course, impossible. The result is a video that focuses on the tension and absurdity of the situation where each person is cautiously trying to guess or influence what the other is about to say. The action refers to paradox and simultaneity – suggesting a situation reminiscent of a prisoners’ dilemma whereby it’s difficult for each person to decide how best to proceed without first knowing what the other intends to do.

It is important that the protagonists have a genuine relationship, as friends and former lovers, and so the resulting communication is, for want of a better word, ‘real’ but also entirely contrived for the camera. This builds on an ongoing interest in the tension between performed and unperformed action – an impossible distinction. The ‘real life’ roles and agendas of the protagonists, although not explicitly revealed, are also relevant – one is the artist keen to get footage for her project, and the other a mathematical physicist ready to rationally point out the pitfalls of the endeavor.

This work is part of a larger body of work-in-progress that has come out of research into ideas to do with mind, agency and free will. An ongoing interest in the interface between the body and language has led me to think about the philosophy of mind – seeing the mind as the site of this interface. The context of this research is an artistic practice that incorporates drawing, writing and video but also live performance, sometimes working collaboratively. As a result I am particularly interested in the paradoxical situation of simultaneously ‘representing’ or ‘making’ and ‘being’ or ‘doing’.

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