Performance -Close Encounters with Remote and Wandering Selves

Sightings by Lila Moore

The body-mind is a canvas, a field, a point of origin, a reason to take action, and to perform.

Throughout the 1980s but also decades later, women have turned to performance art and multimedia art forms. Perhaps, it was the return to the body that made this type of approach to art authentic.

What could be more authentic than utilising your own body to express a personal or transpersonal story or make a statement? What could be more empowering than claiming your body and stepping into it in order to make art? When your body is your pen or paint brush, can you sense your authority as an author or tackle your fears and doubts directly?

Being in full command of your body, how will you be generating your own rebirth ? What would it be like birthing new art forms and ideas with, and through, your body? The body-mind is a canvas, a field, a point of origin, a reason to take action, and to perform.

In my early performance works, my approach to the body was fluid. It became a mirror to the internal workings of my wandering psyche, hence, it could assume different selves, imaginary entities and genders. Only years later, I learnt and realized that the body’s gendered identity may become blurred in liminal zones , such as where our perceptions of the world are challenged or suspended by the Unknown  or as it is deepened by peak moments, altered states and radical compassion.

Sighthings – The Performance

No longer an aspiring painter, I was left with a body and a still camera. What shall I do with them? I was wandering in a deserted field near some ruined houses that became the reflection of my straying thoughts. Then, I saw it. I wasn’t sure if it was a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ but it appeared human.

A figure wrapped in transparent sheets as if just landed from elsewhere. I placed the camera at a safe distance and repositioned my body under the transparent sheets. Becoming a witness and the witnessed, a combination of selves, I was wondering what will happen next. How will my self react when that other self will open her/his eyes? With some hesitation, I decided to step closer to the lying figure, which began to move, slowly focusing my gaze towards the face. The eyes never opened. Our selves remained remote.

Moving backwards, the sighting began to disappear and the vision gradually dissolved, though I kept a trace of it in the negative of the encounter, which became the positive image. Still, the witness without the witnessed is forever missing the wandering selves, which remain beyond reach.

The wanderer in the field walked away.


To see the image gallery of this piece click, here.

This is the second blog post in the series My Journey Towards Cybernetic Futures, which includes texts and images from and about Dr Lila Moore’s multimedia performances, videos and early works. Each blog post in this series will offer you more insights of her creative practice, theoretical writings and experience as educator/lecturer.