Our good friend, John Welson, kindly shared the following siren images with us, and I include his original commentary: “In 1969/70 I painted this painting (in two different versions):
Whilst it acquired the title of, ‘Drama in the Paddock’ having just found an old photo of the work I see that on the rear of the photograph it had a different title, for back then I titled it, ‘The Time of the Mermaid’.
I revisited the theme a couple of times in later years.
‘I is another – and always multiple’. (Claude Cahun)
The Dream Key trilogy (2007-12) formed an integral part of the practice element for my PhD: ‘Border crossings: (re)presenting gender in surrealist film’, and included collage and assemblage, which built on, and were in dialogue with the written research (chapters on Un Chien andalou (Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, 1929), Rose Hobart (Joseph Cornell, 1936) and Les Yeux Sans Visage (Georges Franju, 1960).
This dialogical approach sought to extend the notion of surrealism as a form of research and knowledge, with the surrealists seen as artist-researchers, whose artworks are recognised as both tools and documents of their research; and, crucially, connected to a much wider, political, philosophical and revolutionary programme, aiming, ultimately: to change life (Rimbaud) and transform the world (Marx).
Transformation is seen as central to a re/mapping of the spaces, supposedlimits and frontiers of surrealist notions of gender identity. Any single or fixed reading is problematised in favour of a blurring of the illusory boundaries between masculine/feminine (as process/flux); deconstructing and challenging any society that encourages the positioning of men and women according to binarised (patriarchal) discourses.
Each film explores gender identity in the form of a quest: an actress encounters a series of mysterious doubles, on a quest for her stolen voice in the ‘Doll’s House’; a lock of hair, a teardrop and a kiss are collected by the male musician, on his quest to embrace his feminine other; and a female dancer dreams of escaping the birdcage, embedded in Fisher’s chest, on a quest beyond the binary prison-house. Using narrative, non-narrative, live action and stop motion, the films work individually and dialogically, reflecting a complex engagement with the surrealist notion of gender identity as dynamic, fluid and multiple. Key surrealist themes of desire, liberation and transformation are explored as the three protagonists’ individual quests intersect and cross over…
Links to films in The Dream Key trilogy:
1. The Dream Key (becomings) [HD Video, 23.06 mins, 2012]
PLEASE NOTE – IF THE DOWNLOAD LINKS ABOVE ARE NOT WORKING – YOU CAN STILL DOWNLOAD BY USING THE ‘WATCH ONLINE LINK’ AND THERE IS A DOWNLOAD MENU THAT IS AVAILABLE.
IF SCREENING IN HD MAKE SURE THE EQUIPMENT IS COMPATIBLE OR LAGGING OR OTHER IMAGE ISSUES CAN OCCUR AND IS BETTER TO EITHER DOWNLOADING IN A LOWER RESOLUTION OR CHANGE THE RESOLUTION ON THE SCREENING EQUIPMENT.