This work came from a combination of discovering my great grandmothers wedding dress and a conversation with my grandfather about the nature of love. A battle of wills and emotions which is explored through the medium of film. My grandfathers mothers wedding dress has been following me around for the past few years, I can’t seem to get away from it or squeeze myself into it. It haunts me like a white devil, threatening me with a future that I never agreed to. I hate the way it whispers about me right in front me, trying to provoke a reaction. The less I respond the more incessant it seems to get. So I take a deep drink, grabbed it by the collar and shook it, because it taunts me with its condescending tone and patronizing glances one too many times. It pretends to be what its not you see, a beautiful creature but with an empty bodice. I won’t say I drowned it a river. I would rather say that I let it cool down in the water and the rock was just there to make sure it didn’t float away.
This work explores the relationship between performativity and performance – these are two formally distinct things – where the former is an act of constructing an identity through an action or text, the latter is engaged in the history of creating constructions for an audience’s enjoyment or entertainment. Then my argument is that the former is an internal battle of wills, and the latter is an external one – although both overlap and these categories are neither fixed nor singular. The performativity of subjectivity involves the intersections of an event, a language (verbal or physical) and an ‘actor’ (or performer), which constructs or questions the particular constitution of the object at that moment. Therefore the specific spatial temporal elements become the work itself, even if attempting to reproduce something else – which perhaps, cannot be reconciled. This something else is a situation or intervention which creates a particular way of looking at something that is directly influenced by where it is viewed, and what happens within that event. It is the environment which becomes the stage – at once dramatizing the event and mythologizing it – a kind of spatial cut-up which frames the performance. The differences and overlaps between performance and performativity is in a sense a conversation about the relationships between theory and practice.
MEGAN-LEIGH HEILIG: Born in 1993 in Nelspruit South Africa, Megan-Leigh Heilig grew up in Johannesburg, graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a Bachelor in Fine Art (BFA) in 2015 and is currently studying towards a Masters in Fine Art (MFA) at the University of Cape Town.
She works primarily in video, film, installation and sculpture. Megan has recently exhibited in the Seven Hills 2nd Kampala Biennale: Virtual Mobilities, curated by Elise Atangana, with a focus on selected video. She was also recently nominated for best experimental short by the Top Indie Film Awards 2016; and showed at the Joburg Fringe in an interactive collection of videos curated by Dean Hutton titled OpenlinkXchange. She has also intervened in project and public spaces through various other online, site specific and collaborative engagements.