Speak, Memory • “White Elephants”, RUNDGANG

Speak, Memory is a multi-disciplinary work (in progress) that combines film, photo, and text to begin exploring an earlier concept of voluntary and involuntary memory (Hibi, 2016-2018) through all modes but speech. The film, Muscle, Memory, is the first time the artist performs since 2013, when she had to stop dancing due to twelve years of ballet training that had exacerbated her condition. Improvised in one take to a rhythmic, pulsing work by Friedrich Andreoni, the moving image that the viewer is confronted with is one of tension between fluid motion and moments where the artist does not do know what to do with her body: The muscles have forgotten. This is simultaneously a question of endurance and nostalgia that begins to reconcile the precarious relationship the artist has to dance.

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In contrast, the photographic work is an expression of control that captures a history of careful, quiet observation of material and form – a direct affect of enduring the obligations of single-childhood:

“Is it easy to keep so quiet?
Everybody loves a quiet child Underwater you’re almost free
If you want to be alone, come with me...”

Further texts – which are, at this point, only referential and/or somewhat appropriated – engage literature that the artist has read and found solace in. At a later time, nightmares and personal writings that have been collected since 2016 will be included in a comprehensive text.

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although there are two identical twins, women, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm that the one she is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks after her birth. She saw a world that was practically unchanged – the same house, the same people – and then realized that she did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned her absence. She caught a glimpse of her mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed her, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened her was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, her very bones had disintegrated.”

Excerpt from Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov (1951)