Becoming an Image by Cassils.

A commission by Fierce Festival

For the second time I have been collaborated with Cassils on this powerful performance in which photography and sculpture are in live conversation.

Becoming an Image is a work where performance and sculpture collide. 

It was originally conceived as a site-specific work for the ONE Archives in Los Angeles, the oldest active LGBTQ archive in the United States. I gutted the room of the archive, built this 2000lb clay sculpture, moved the audience into that archive and then, in the darkness, attacked the sculpture.

Delivering a series of kicks and blows in total darkness, the spectacle will only be illuminated by the flash of a photographer, burning the image into the viewer's retina, creating the effect of a "live" photograph. The remains of this violent sculpting - a soft, passive clay body bearing the trace of the beating it has taken - will then be displayed after the performance

It is a monument to senseless acts of violence against trans and queer bodies that occur beyond the periphery of the historical lens. I wanted to draw attention to the fact that many of our genderqueer and trans brothers and sisters are 28-percent more likely to experience physical violence. Worldwide, transgender murders increased by 20%in 2012. Transgender people of color are two times more likely to experience physical violence than those who are not LGBT people of color.

I train in a totally different fashion for Becoming an Image, but just as rigorously. I have to keep my heart rate up to about 170 beats a minute. A heart rate where I’m lightly jogging is about 122, or lower. I use fewer heavy weights and do more explosive actions.  I train in a blindfold to acclimatise to the dark. I spin myself to prepare for the disorientation of the darkness. Training for an artwork is like an athlete training for a sports event.

All images © Manuel Vason 2019
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