In March this year I made an installation for THE SHAPE, a group show at Dundee's Generator Projects. This artwork was titled Death Paints Red Daubings. Today's post compiles the film, photos and a bunch of documentation, kind of a deluxe DVD box-set of a post.
Death Paints Red Daubings from Ben Robinson on Vimeo.
Written and directed by Ben Robinson
Miss X - Catrin Jeans
Dr. Love - Joseph Hood
Voice of Miss X - Morgan Cahn
Voice of Dr. Love - Tony Paraskeva
Masked killer - Scott Duncan
Cinematography by Dylan Drummond
Music by Marcus Augustus
Painting 'Awaken' by Alexander McDonald
Special thanks to Ross Fraser McLean, Ryan Weir and the Generator Projects committee.
Death Paints Red Daubings
(Lines to be delivered very slowly. Brechtian distancing effect is encouraged over naturalistic acting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distancing_effect )
Miss X is sat at a desk, drawing doodles on a sheet of paper.
Dr Love – Miss X? Miss X? Miss X, if you stay sat drawing these scribbles on your patient notes then you’ll miss any potential benefits of this session.
Miss X – Dr Love, if that is your real name, this drawing is already worth more than you’d earn in a year. It just so happens to be the first thing I’ve drawn in a long time. Maybe I’m seeing these so-called benefits already, and maybe that’s because of simple human contact. I haven’t left my room in months. It’s so hard being on my own every day. I can’t stand it!
Dr Love – The sooner you complete your treatment, the sooner you’ll be making art again. Don’t you want that?
Miss X – Huh, my gallery certainly wants that. They can’t wait to be back decorating the walls of investment bankers’ dinner parties.
Dr Love – And so you have a problem with that?
Miss X – The sublime is a commodity to be bought and sold like any other. Just like bars of gold or pretty young boys. Just like bars of chocolate or boxes of cigarettes. I’m under no illusions. I know that’s the way the art world works.
Dr Love – Was it ever any different?
Miss X – I was born to be an artist, I know that much. But to tell the truth, I still don’t feel like I’ve made it. The fame, the money, the lifestyle… none of that means a thing to me. All my works are tiny steps on an inner voyage, a struggle for truth that I wage with materials as my weapon. Over my head is a radiant star, and the more I stretch to reach it, the further it recedes. But by the power of my spirit and my single-minded pursuit of the path, I strive to touch the living, breathing soul of the universe.
Dr Love – You’ve had some remarkable success, that much is true.
Miss X – I was lucky enough to touch the soul of the universe for a fleeting moment. Sometimes, when the stars and planets align, it’s at that very moment when success becomes inevitable. But maybe that was the problem.
Dr Love - How so?
Miss X – The zeitgeist is a slippery thing. One day I was riding it so assured of my place written in the hallowed pages of the art history books. The next I’m on my hands and knees searching for it on my studio floor. I once made artworks that captured the spirit of the age. My career was something that existed independently of me. It just needed a little tending now and then, in such moments of quiet reflection that I could ever afford. I’d wake up in the morning sweating awards and recommendations, but then something happened. I began to see this mad charade for what it really is. One day I stopped making any art at all. Nobody could understand why.
Dr Love – Miss X, it seems obvious to me that your problems can be traced back to some event in your childhood. What is your most treasured childhood memory? What is your greatest fear?
Miss X – No, no, it’s too painful!
Dr Love – Think! You must confront your past!
Miss X – When I was a little girl I used to dream of owning a horse. I would imagine riding a beautiful stud across sandy beaches. One day my daddy promised to buy me a horse and I was thrilled. It was the happiest day of my life.
Dr Love – Very interesting.
Miss X – But then a few days later I got my present and it was just a rocking horse. I didn’t want that at all. It was nothing like the beautiful horse I had been dreaming of. It wouldn’t ride across any sandy beaches. It just sat there, lifeless and inert. I cried for weeks on end.
Dr Love – And this event was revisited whenever you made a work of art. You would never create anything that came close to that dream of riding the horse on the beach.
Miss X – No, no, it’s not true!
Miss X screams. As the music swells to a crescendo, a strobe light flashes and she is murdered by a masked figure who slashes her throat with a razor.
Photos by Ross Fraser McLean:
DPRD influences and inspirations discussed at Disemboweling THE SHAPE, an event held at the gallery towards the end of the show's run: