Sugar Cage (2019) for performer and video.
Performances: Bastard Assignments at Mountview, Aldeburgh Festival and Jauna Musica, Lithuania.
Depressive hedonia, an inability to stop consuming entertainment which we know ultimately makes us feel terrible, is one of the concepts that stuck with me after reading Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism. The book is about the contemporary belief that there is no realistic alternative to our current economic system, despite its destructive and exploitative nature being acknowledged by almost everyone. In Sugar Cage I am also trapped – below an image of my own face looming huge above me, hand outstretched. The moment of connection between finger and screen, between flesh and interface is the focus – the moment this “depressive hedonia” is transformed into data, and ultimately profit.
The process of making the piece was a different type of obsessing in front of a screen – spending hours making rhythmic and melodic material from tiny fragments of mobile phone footage. I made the footage itself by engaging with my phone (almost) as I am supposed to – with voice and touch. In this sense Sugar Cage is part of group of recent pieces that use playfulness to subvert and negotiate situations of control.
Thanks to Bastard Assignments for creative feedback during the process.
Above video is the Aldeburgh performance, below is at Mountview, Peckham.
© 2023 Timothy Cape