In March 2012, David Harradine/Fevered Sleep presented a dance and photography project, Stilled, at the studios.
The photographs that were on display and formed the exhibition at the Studios were part of Stilled, a dance and photography project by David Harradine/Fevered Sleep. The presented images were created during a number of performances of Stilled, including a performance at the Studios on the opening day of the exhibition on 17 March.
Stilled was originally commissioned by Wellcome Collection and is inspired by the scientific process of X-ray crystallography. Stilled is a durational, improvised performance, which lasts for anything from 3 to 12 hours, taking place for a human audience, and also for an audience of pinhole cameras. The cameras take long exposure photographs of the movements and stillnesses that make up the piece. Because a pinhole camera is such a simple technology – nothing more than a lightproof box with a tiny hole in one side, which acts like a lens – it takes a considerable amount of time (from 4 to 50 minutes) for enough light to enter the camera to cause a chemical change on the photographic paper inside.
Anything moving during this time will be at best blurred on the developed photographs, but is more likely to be invisible. Bodies are fragmented and transformed by the process of recording them in images: feet and hands and faces float, disembodied in the white space of the print; the curve of a back segues into the flat plane of the floor; abstract patterns approach the figurative, a dark grey blur almost, but not quite, resolving into something anatomical, into flesh.
The photographs from Stilled bear witness to movements and improvisations that can no longer be seen, a catalogue of absent bodies, forgotten events, traces, loss. They are slices of time past, not snapshots of past events, but stories of time which has passed, in which bodies shift through fluid and solid states, in which movements before the cameras crystallise into stillness: a body held long enough, perhaps, for a camera to see.