SARAH WHITE (ADAMS) //          


My work is rooted in the history of collaborative practice between dance and visual art, and engages with contemporary questions of dance in gallery spaces, and its present relationship with contemporary art practice. My current research wrestles with the body’s physical understanding of loss and grief, and its relationship with site and location: notably places which have become sites of loss, difficulty and tension. I am interested in how we can remember physically through a returning to place and an abstracted re-enacting and remembering of one's own painful experiences, as the body is understood as a physical archive: a site of layers of sedimented memory.

Our physical body is the site we inhabit in the world. It is battered and bruised: a tangible testimony to what we have known. We carry with us in the body our memories and emotions of everything that has gone before, of everything that has been done to us and which have done. This current body of work wrestles with a more open sadness, and vulnerability: something of an appeal against our Western stoicism, which provokes the question of how a greater embodied understanding of our physicality can enable a more open emotionality. What would it look like if there were a radical reversal of our body’s primary state of existence, notably its functional verticality? By which is meant the state of uprightness assumed by the body on a daily basis. What would happen, for example, if the expression, ‘I’m feeling down’ were to be literally applied to the physical verticality of the body? The work presents an image of a falling, collapsed and abandoned body: utilising tools of repetition, mimcry, and endurance to physically explore grief.

“Mimicry, I am more and more certain, is the fundamental performance of this cultural moment. At the heart of mimicry is a fear that the match will not hold and “the thing itself” (you, me, love, art) will disappear before we can reproduce it. So we hurl ourselves headlong toward copy machines, computers, newspapers, cloning labs... I want less to describe and preserve performances than to enact and mimic the losses that beat away within them. In this mimicry, loss itself helps transform the repetitive force of trauma and might bring about a way to overcome it.”

Phelan, P. (1997), Mourning Sex, Performing Public Memories. 1st edn. London: Routledge.