Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"I was filled with the emotion of my stillness" Now Revisited reviewed

"It was as if I had been given my eyes back again, my innocence. We all became really quite lively, as if somehow liberated by our own behaviour on screen to make comments about ourselves, our neighbours." Art critic Jody Day describes Now Revisited.

Hilary Lawson, the founder of the video painting movement and Artscape Project, has embarked on a radical new project. Now Revisited an interactive art installation in five acts unfolded within the cavernous wake-space of the Shunt vaults last week.

Propelling the audience into the ‘Now’, the artist presented the audience with theatre-style seats into which they were convened to watch themselves in real time on a huge cinema screen. Simultaneously participants in and reviewers of the work, the unique event saw hundreds of people in dialogue with the tenets of Hilary Lawson’s philosophy of ‘openness’.

Each act, entitled ‘Now’, ‘Now Past’, ‘Now Reviewed’, ‘Now Observed’ and ‘‘Now Revisited’ respectively, allowed the audience (and some viewers who returned for a second showing) to react/interact with the art before them, entirely as they desired; from the initial awakening in Act I until the climactic release of the final visit to the present in Act V. Act II took the audience on a journey into a momentary present in the past.

Act III recalled the footage from the first act as the players in the installation related to their own moments of subjectivity just a few moments before. Act IV caught the audience watching themselves from an external observers point of view, with Act V returning to the immediate present in a return to the moment of self-referential intensity with which the piece had begun.

Billed by ‘The Times’ newspaper as one of the top fifteen things to do or see in London, Now Revisited revealed itself as a spectacle of raucous voyeurism that often gave way to moments of hushed contemplation. Viewers revealed their bodies provocatively, rose from their seats in uniform patterns, while some took to the stage to sit in their own filmed likeness.

Hilary Lawson, reflected on the new piece on the opening night of the performance, commenting that TS Eliot described the moment of the present as ‘the still point of the turning world’: “The moment ‘caught in a shaft of sunlight’. This momentary present is depicted as a place of mystery…Now Revisited attempts to encourage the viewer into the present and once there to explore the nature of this momentary present.”

To review previous works by Hilary Lawson click on collections

To read the full review from Jody Day visit www.lucky-cow.com

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