I am curious about the ways in which dance has resisted influence and quotation within the art form. For the most part, choreographers want to be seen as original, rather than as part of a large community of making, observing and borrowing; of influencing and being influenced. This is markedly different from film, for instance, which has a long history of direct quotation, and recognising and owning the ways that influence circulates through the art form.
5.2 (Self) Portraits takes a sample of the screendance project 52 Portraits by Jonathan Burrows, Matteo Fargion and Hugo Glendinning and generates a new art work — a work that excavates further the psychology of identity and portraiture; of ego and power.
What is this new work doing by itself? What is it doing to the work on which it is dependent? How could the relationship between the original and the new be categorised: Parasitic? Playful? And what does it do to the people in the original works to have their portraits — their visions or versions of themselves — interrupted, distorted, erased, spoken for, or even disrespected? The politics of this last question are complex. The markers of my identity — male, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, heterosexual — are of privilege and influence. Can 5.2 (Self) Portraits be anything other than an artist simply re-asserting those privileges? Who is at the receiving end of power when an artwork like 52 Portraits is re-examined, re-framed, and re-taken as a new artwork? Who is gaining and what is being gained? And who if anyone is diminished or reduced?
– Simon Ellis, 5 June 2019.