Situated in between performance and documentation of performance, Live at the Slipping Fan Belt is a seemingly minimal presentation by Dunedin artist Tim Player. However, the exhibition documents a larger body of work: multiple live performances realised in mundane yet familiar locations around central Dunedin via traditional exhibition mediums of screened video works and framed photographs.
Tūrei 3 Noema
Tuesday 3 November
The video work titled Xam is My Man follows Player on a psychogeographical wandering through the city, which feels not as much a discovery as it does a rediscovery of already known territory. In following main streets and pedestrian pathways of Dunedin City these works, or documentations, seem to act initially as references to individual memories of place.
These journeys do not seem to be taking place in particular moments in time, but they rather encompass multiple experiences over a longer period; each channel of the video work being 45 minutes in duration each. Confidence in ‘knowing your way around’ can not often be achieved in one visit to a place. Watching Xam is My Man it becomes clear over the duration of the work that Player is overtly familiar with the city, as though he could travel the same pathways with his eyes closed. He is not a stranger to this place.
Knowing a place requires a repetition of experience. But viewing the work, I begin to wonder, are these experiences Player’s, or the cameraman/woman’s? This creates a certain tension that can also be felt in the photographic works, part of the ‘Propping and Leaning and waiting series’: 2 becomes 4, 11 becomes 11, 2:35 becomes 2:50, 10 becomes 12. These four dual image works act as mini performances, heightening tensions within the idea of place.
Viewing these works within the framework of the Blue Oyster is significant. As an artist, musician, barman and long term member of Dunedin’s creative fabric, Player seems to be exploring more of a collective consciousness that the Blue Oyster itself is a component of and has been for the past 16 years of creative practice for many in Dunedin. In this way, the exhibition moves from what seems to be an individual experience to a collective one.
Ultimately unobtrusive in presentation within the gallery context, the performative elements within Live at the Slipping Fan Belt feel simultaneously present and concealed. This brings forth the idea that perhaps the experience of place is not so much physical as it is ephemeral.