Project Description

Eudaimonia  (2004-07)

Live art installation. Intimate human-machine feedback loops explore themes of ethical fragility.
“When we have been ignorant or deceived, the Aristotelian verdict, looking back, would be that we thought we were happy when we were not. We only had the illusion of happiness.” Simon Blackburn – Being Good: A short introduction to ethics

Context: Telos & ethics, dynamic systems, human-machine intimacies, feedback loops, Oculus software

THE WORK

Creating an analogue environment from digital hardware, Eudaimonia juxtaposes a strenuous choreography of some of the classical images at the roots of Western culture with a technologically live space. The durational performance is set up as a self-contained system in which the technology appears as part of an extended nervous system, both contradicting and supporting the human effort in its centre. As the performers step into the inner circle of hardware, their movements generate and manipulate an electro-acoustic feedback. Spinning words of hope, desire, doubt and prayer trace across their bodies, triggered by a software that responds to the alterations of sound. Cause and effect can no longer be identified as every action changes the environment, and every change in the environment affects the actions within.

In this touching examination of the real and the ideal, the banal and the beautiful, ancient classical iconographies are juxtaposed with the ephemeral qualities of video. There are fleeting visitations of greatness, goodness, peace and moments of extreme struggle, pain, and failure. All the time the shifting images of the video monitors show themselves as external daimonic commentaries, providing singular but constantly changing viewpoints of the performers success or failure. The title of the work comes from Aristotle. In his philosophy, a long succession of pleasurable inner sensations cannot make up genuine happiness or Eudaimonia. True happiness requires a correct relationship with the world – a striving for health.

Eudaimonia varies in length and the audience is encouraged to come close and experience the environment from all sides, move around it and walk in and out of the location.

Photography Blind Ditch and Tim Dollimore

PARTNERS

Commissioned by: tEXt Festival and developed in residency at Dartington College of Arts 2004 with support from the HEFCE Business Fellow.

EVENTS

  • May 2004 Launch event for tEXt festival, Exeter Phoenix. Curated by Simon Persighetti from Wrights & Sites.
  • 30th July 2004 Launch event for Eclectic Tech Carnival, Port Eliot LitFest. Curated by i-DAT at University of Plymouth.
  • 6th September 2006 Presentation for the panel on the Experiential and Cerebral at (Re)Actor First International Conference on Digital Live Art at Queen Mary’s College, London.
  • 20th September 2006 Launch event Anti-Static Festival, Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton.
  • 10th September 2007 Performed at the DRHA Conference, Dartington College of Arts, Studio 8
  • 7th, 8th, 9th December 2007 Performed at Intimacy: Across Digital and Physical Performance, Goldsmiths University, London.

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WHAT WAS SAID

“Oddly visionary. Eudaimonia is dedicated to the power of mystery: technical apparatus in a communion with the human body, tuning and re-tuning its poise through figurative archetypes, adjustments, realignings.”

Sean Borodale, Poet and artist

“…there was a constant flow of people throughout this durational performance. Some drifted and circled the action whilst others stood transfixed as if in some kind of trance…”

Simon Persighetti, Curator, tEXt Festival

PEOPLE

Developed by Blind Ditch from the performance Feedback by Volkhardt Müller.
Performed by Paula Crutchlow, Henning Hegland, Volkhardt Müller, Cat Radford.
Text by Paula Crutchlow.
Software by Daniel Harris.
Tech assistance and video documentation Tim Dollimore.

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RIGHT NOW WE ARE…

…developing Ghost Train with Thelma Hulbert Gallery and East Devon District Council. Please Get In Touch if you have memories or thoughts on the former Avocet line between Exmouth and Sidmouth.

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