Presented as the blueprints for three public lectures, We are behind proposes alternative routes through Emily Wardill’s work and represents three different attempts at embodying and dissembling knowledge. Using different formal textual devices, from which they also deviate – a standard lecture, the subject of which becomes something felt, not taught; an a-chronological conversation; and the transcript of a play rendered as a formal essay – each section describes the different facets of an ongoing dialogue between the authors. Fragmented not only by dialogic turns, appropriated texts, images, a score and quotations, and containing extensive reproductions of Wardill’s work, the book’s content and design reflects the labyrinthine, and sometimes hallucinogenic quality of her films and their radical combination of form, content and idea.
Each section focuses on specific works. Section One, The Object, uses The Diamond (Descartes Daughter), SEA OAK, and Gamekeepers without Game, to explore ideas of the rational, public art, the public, linguistic framing and the irrational, via Gladys Knight and the Pips, a hand-drawn hallucinogenic section, Seth Price’s essay Dispersion, Norman Mailer, The Rockridge Institute and Peter Gidal. Section Two, The Window follows a conversations between the authors, that opens onto desire, politics, mirrors, and the films Basking in what feels like ‘An Ocean of Grace’ I soon realise that I am not looking at it but rather, I AM it, recognising myself, Split the View in Two (Part Two), and Sick Serena and Dregs and Wreck and Wreck. In the final part, The Theatre, an apparently formal essay on the implications of framing live action, the proscenium arch as a link between theatre and cinema, Dan Graham, perspective, power and its collapse, transforms into a collection of dialogues around Ben, Sick Serena and Dregs and Wreck and Wreck, authenticity, reality and fiction.
Co-published by Book Works, London, and de Appel, Amsterdam to accompany Emily Wardill’s solo exhibition windows broken, break, broke together, curated by Ian White, 17 September – 28 November 2010.