Stephen McNeilly 


Definitions of Concepts Towards a Philosophy of Alienation

Saturday 14 May 16 00 


Through a mix of performance and digitally-transferred Super-8 film, Stephen McNeilly will further his Definitions of Concepts Towards a Philosophy of Alienation, which were introduced in his contribution to the Art Lands On Alien Landscape publication.


During the performance the audience will be presented with a number of texts that are read by a performer and simultaneously appear on a video screen as the subtitles for film footage. Each text makes an attempt to define a term in a manner that alludes to the as yet unrealised Philosophy of Alienation referred to in the work’s title.


As the work tentatively makes an approach toward a philosophy of alienation it also creates alienation: Each text is disconnected from the as-yet non-existent thesis that we assume will bind them together, and so in their current state they are estranged from each other. Each text is also accompanied by a piece of Super-8 film footage. Mostly comprising domestic scenes, the shots have no obvious relation to the texts they illustrate and any apparent connection between the footage and text may be only haphazard. The jittery projection and milky, painterly colours of the film stock gives a feeling of history and separation that intensifies the increasing awareness of the space in between each component of the performance


The text, the film, the audience. Each become categorised by how distant they are from each other. Finally the performer, who narrates the work in an accent which will be foreign to most if not all of the audience, creates yet another alien component to the piece.


Stephen McNeilly works in a variety of media and acts as a curator, producer and director of a broad range of projects including publications, films and performance. His current interests include notions of exchange, communis and the uncertain relation between public and private. Recent works and collaborations include: Fourteen interventions (2010); Heaven, hell and other places: a documentary (2010); the Swedenborg Short Film Festival; and an ongoing publishing project entitled the Dedecus Picture Archive. His long-standing interest in the writings of the eighteenth-century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg inform much of his recent writing, and he is currently the curator and senior editor at the Swedenborg Society, London.


Limbo 2010