An edited conversation: Patrick Staff
I’m doing some research at the LUX here in London at the moment. I was looking through catalogues from the London Electronic Arts today, early 90s touring programmes, and I noticed a work called ‘A Spy, Hester Reeve Does the Doors’. We got the tape out of the archive, almost not believing it would be you. It was part of a programme the LEA did called Visionary Sexualities, with annie sprinkle, franko b, sue zando and others. Do you remember it? I was so excited to see this queer drag performance. How did the film come to be made? It said you originally performed it at switch and bait in Chicago, at the Club Lower Links? What was that about? And how did the performance get to be filmed by Suzie?
Thinking of you and sending love, Patrick xx
What about the errors in memory when you are recounting stories, when you get things wrong because you don’t remember properly, and how those margins of error are actually linked to the process of editing. Editing is also a process of changing meaning and you can accidently edit just in terms of recounting an event.
Yes, I know. Hester names all of these different people but she could have easily forgotten someone, and in which case that person, in our minds, never existed as part of ‘A Spy, Hester Reeve Does the Doors’. Through her lack of memory, the video that we know, some people are excluded.
And this idea of recording is also echoed in the line where she says how in that version she hid a camera in her loin cloth and ended up taking a photo of the audience. It denies the spectacle as much as it upholds it.
It made me think about Patrick’s work and that fact that again it denies the idea of spectacle. Rather than there being a passive audience who watches the performance, it’s a case of everyone participating. Do you remember the performance that he was telling us about? Everyone was performing so therefore how could you record it without having a separate camera or someone external? The way that he defeated that was by each performer having their own camera. You get multiple recordings and from completely different perspectives, from the body of the performer themselves rather than the external spectator. I think that ties into what Hester says about filming back to the audience or turning your own body into a camera. It’s about using yourself both as the subject that records as well as performs.