Mandy El-Sayegh, your words will be used against you
El-Sayegh introduces a new site-specific floor installation that acts like a second skin of language and light, and offers a contact space for performances to occupy: it also blurs the lines between other live performances, as well as her new live work with guest collaborator Sanaa Abstrakt and a soundtrack composed by Lily Oakes, taking place on 9 October and broadcast online on 10 October. Performers: Aretha Ameen, Alethia Antonia, Letizia Mateo, Melissa Stewart and Uma Vanderpuye.
Friday 9 October
Ground floor / IMH 9 Cork Street
The performance will be recorded and released on frieze.com and IGTV @friezeartfair on Saturday 10 October.
(notes on) bodyguard care
by Tamara Hart
Don’t you ever wonder, if a bodyguard gets into trouble, who protects them? Yes, there are others who can help, but how and when will they be called on, and what are the implications of this exchange? It’s the bodyguard’s job to protect! What happens when they are denied this role, will their pride be hurt? Will they lose themselves? When the bodyguard is injured, boundaries shift – they are victim, rescuer and witness all at once – the line between roles collapses. What would it mean for a bodyguard to be supported: an ethics of bodyguard care?
Think about it, the bodyguard can lose their agency when someone else decides to protect them. Unsolicited support can create an economy of gratitude, where the cared-for is expected to be grateful. Do they even want this help, these gestures of kindness? The goodwill of the carer becomes oppressive, erasing the autonomy of the cared-for. The recipient (i.e. the no-longer-bodyguard) can be burdened by their lack – of deciding their own needs, of creating meaning, of reciprocating support. This oppression of goodwill is always present in exchanges of care, as it is in our use of language. And besides, your words will be used against you. The autonomy of the bodyguard, not only as a carer but also as an agent in defining care, is lost in the symbolic realm. How can language begin to express the multiplicity of our roles in the world?
– The act of shaking; the hips or head, a feeling, a hand. How do you feel when you shake? Is it a reminder that meaning cannot be contained within a body? If the real (completeness) is lost when we enter language, how can we comprehend our own lack? It’s when we shake that we admit this absence, a rip in the fabric of meaning. The lips of the symbolic and the real meet, shaking up our systems of thought, creating new spaces for body-guarding.
What about the shaking off of care, you say, who is exempt from caring?
Nobody is exempt, caring exists so long as there is an I/you to care-for. It’s the act of oscillating (not obliterating) the I/you – the protector, the casualty, the healer – that allows us to define our roles. The structure of language is not, and could never be, enough. When we expose the lack of the bodyguard (of strength, of protection, of words), and guard ourselves and others simultaneously, alternative modes of care emerge. Only then can we enter new terrains of tenderness.
LIVE is Frieze London's showcase for Live Art and sound. This year LIVE is curated by Victor Wang (王宗孚) (Artistic Director and Chief Curator of M WOODS Museum, Beijing). For the first time ever, LIVE will take place at 9 Cork Street in London, where Wang and a group of artists, will establish a temporary Institute of Melodic Healing during Frieze Week. This institute of sound and performance will last for 111 hours, aiming to promote community and healing by thinking through sound and body.