Friday, September 22, 2006

David Ellis's 'Left-handed swordsmanship aka View-finder'

Artist: David Ellis
Location: Porthole on the back stairs.
Medium: Photography, Text, Performance
Comment: The architectural feature of the round window or porthole located on a narrow staircase between the ground floor and the Nash and Brandon rooms has become the unexpected prompt to many memories, false memories and also an aid to a kind of ' backward thinking '. On a previous occasion I had delivered a 5min' to camera' spoken digression on the staircase on the subject of left-handed swordmanship and a specifically disputed historical assault on a 15th Century medieval castle in Rodez. The basis of this account being that left-handed swordmanship had been introduced as an early defence against fierce assaults from those ascending the spiral staircase that lead to the symbolic seat of power. Weilding their swords in their left hands and striking at the wrists of the right-handed swordsman with the clear advantage and dexterity that this defensive strategem permited. Being myself left-handed I had become interested in recent neurological studies etc that suggested that an inclination towards non-linearity in both thinking and in memory was more pronounced in ' South-Paws ' (left-handers). I liked this conceit as it permitted me to believe that to 'digress' had a physiological origin. That my frequent exercises/ performances in the act of semi-improvised spoken memory etc were a trait developed in the convoluted brain folds of Munros canal. Perhaps.

The porthole became the point of association for a series of 7- 5minute ' digressions ' planned as my part in the ICA exhibition ' Private: Staff Only '. As the second part of the title suggests , the window for me is a kind of viewfinder that examines a re-constructed past. My past.

1. A very rank organization - The death of the bloke who struck the gong for Rank Films. 2006

2. LSD - 1973

3.The practice of air-guitar. 1969

4.Living on Clare Island , Ireland in a Lighthouse 1979.

5.Faking furniture in Dublin. 1979

6.Watching ' Zulu '. 1964

7.Cat-scans at the Royal Free Hospital. 1980

8.Waiting in Lithuanian military air-space. 2003
9. Death of an auto-didact 1981

10. The historical significance of 5.10pm - October 17th



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