musings for concrete keys
As part of her practice since 2014, Bourke has developed a body of performance and short film works featuring Coneface, a performance alter ego whose face is covered by a long, semi-transparent cone narrowing perception and providing both protection and slight sensory deprivation for the effaced wearer. Navigation through light indication is key, similar to a camera. This motif was originally designed to refer to filtration devices developed with age or a dissociative state caused by technological over-stimulation in ever-advancing modern life. The artist uses this anonymised absurd figure to explore themes by activating thematically specific tableaux and guises, which often include site response to less conventional performance settings and the use of harness/suspension. Coneface continues to evolve, having appeared in numerous live and filmic events around Ireland, Italy and Sweden. Natasha is currently working on a feature length experimental film, with support of the Arts Council, called Concrete Keys. CK features and expands on Coneface as the central figure in multiple guises, sites and states of suspension to poetically examine the individual’s place in a rapidly transforming vision of institutions of the self and society. Almost the entire film is set in the old FAS building on Sullivans quay and will also feature footage of the demolition of this Cork landmark. The aesthetic of the film is surreal, oneiric, playful and spectral. Visually, It makes innovative use of split-screen techniques, aspect ratios and image textures. A rich sense of movement acts as the language of the film in place of dialogue. The editing and performance tempo and qualities are implicit to Concrete Keys' visual fabric. The film will run for approximately 80-90 minutes. The specially composed film score will consist of manipulated field recordings taken inside the building and of its demolition as well as radio static, synthesised and found sound. It will be multi-textured but not entirely disparate and will include an aspect of more accessible melody, humor as well as suspense.
Short Synopsis Spoor invites the viewer to witness a dreamlike and interior quest with archetypal resonances, such as transience, perception, identity, pathos, isolation, legacy, memory and myth. The experimental film work includes recently produced and private archival AV material linking fragments of the past and present to open a dialogue, exploring distance as well as connection. Additional detail This work was originally shown within the context of a maze-like immersive installation consisting of two circular quarantined areas with outer and inner curtains suspended from filmreel-like structures linked by a small funnel-shaped corridor. One of these quarantined areas housed two1920’s cinema seats from which to view the film. The Cone motif, originally used in Bourkes work as a viewing device, evolved into an effacing mask, narrowing perception and effecting an anonymous and absurd alter ego, 'Coneface'. The resulting tunnel-vision refers to coping devices developed with age, filtering out what one does not want or need to see whilst also acting as a distancing device referring to loss of connection. It's semitransparent form provides both protection and slight sensory deprivation for the wearer. Within the context of Spoor, four other people appear in the pathos guise of Coneface: Bourke’s father on a long lost Irish ancestral estate, her mother in her Dutch home town, a male figure rowing Coneface on the currach and her niece, who wears the cone on her head - not yet ready for tunnel-vision, the new young generation is more perceptively open to the world and play. 'Cone face' has appeared in various public milieus since her inception in 2014. The title 'Spoor' refers both to a residual human trace and the railway track, implying the journey between two points, temporally and geographically. As the filmmaker’s personal archive lies in two countries, a naturally emergent theme of the film has been one of navigating movement from one locus to another, the journey, passage, and threshold of both time and place. Anecdote, the remains of Bourke’s paternal Irish estate and her maternal Dutch grandfather’s recently revived standard 8mm films have facilitated creative space for a posthumous discourse with unmet ancestors. As a result, Spoor more universally evidences traces of inherent ancestral influence on successive generations. FEATURING David Bourke, Natasha Bourke, Rika Dunne, Gavin McEntee, Inge Nieuwstraten CAMERA Natasha Bourke, Enrique Carnicero, Inge Nieuwstraten, Mark Hathaway, Maximilian Le Cain, Frank Prendergast SOUND Natasha Bourke & James Fortune (Incorporating: 'Mister Sandman' by The Chordettes and 'Allegri - Miserere mei’, Deus by Choir of New College, Oxford) DIRECTION, PRODUCTION & EDIT Natasha Bourke PERSONAL ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE (1958-64) Shot, directed and edited by Nico Nieuwstraten
hypervigil II is an experimental work that contemplates a landscape of dissociation, perception and memory through magnified observation and manipulation of visuals and sound. A dissociative state is a survival mechanism brought about when trying to defend oneself against an intolerable onslaught of competing stimuli. Technological advancement, a subject that initially inspired the film, has led to an inundation of information, with devices progressively disrupting and mediating human interface. There is little option but to accept this continuous development. Remove in personal contact ever increases, leaving some distanced from reality to the point of acute dissociation, warped perception and mental isolation. The composition of sound, digital abstracted imagery and analogue framing of a lone figure attempts to explore the objective and subjective experiencing. The mood of hypervigil alternates between one of sensitivity, oppression and the absurd, posed as a comment on our time. With: Natasha Bourke Jennifer Ahern Inma Pavon Camera: Natasha Bourke Mark Hathaway Sound: Natasha Bourke James Fortune 'Cheek to Cheek' by Fred Astaire Production and Edit: Natasha Bourke
Dejavudu invites the viewer into a ritual of walking and contemplation towards a vanishing point. The ironic juxtaposition of the soundtrack and visual metaphor of an anonymous figure completing an iterative action comments with some humour on isolation, longing and repeat life patterns. Camera (S8 & Digital): Mark Hathaway and Natasha Bourke Edit: Natasha Bourke Walkers: Inma Moya, Jennifer Ahern and Natasha Bourke Music: "Whiskey Sour" by Molly Nilsson
Neurotica Idem (2011)
This work investigates the complex interplay between the many selves – performer, and flawed observer(s). The original, free-flowing spontaneous self is often interrupted by internal and external demands for perfection resulting in aridity, repetition, loss of creativity, isolation and hidden neurosis. The work attempts to create a dialogue between these inner-selves interweaved with confined chaos created from traditionally orderly and archetypal forms. 'Of all mammals, human is most capable of self-reflection and excessive self attention, which feeds his neuroses and ultimate alienation from a world of acceptance' - C.G Jung Edit: Natasha Bourke Camera: Natasha Bourke and Kate Bowe Performance: Natasha Bourke Sound: Recording from live performance with James Fortune 'Lilac Wine' by Jeff Buckey Mixed by Natasha Bourke