My Voice Shall Now Come From the Other Side of the Room

2005-2007

In the relatively simple piece My Voice Shall Now Come from the Other Side of the Room, a single visitor is presented with headphones and gently blindfolded with white out goggles. Instructions are given to the visitor by a ghostly and childlike voice within these headphones, and in perfect tandem to this voice are the gestures of unseen performers in the space: “I am here” it speaks as the visitor’s hand is gently caught by one of these invisible figures. Lasting only a few minutes, this strangely neutral space is disarming and calming, here is physical sensation at its purest distillation (1).

This work presents highly manipulated and designed situations in which the visitor is asked to relinquish control of their body and their choices into uncertain space and upon anonymous keepers. Thus it is dependent upon the unruly sequences of our sensory and social reactions – all movements within Lundahl & Seitl’s works impact upon one another in causal series. However, relaxing one’s instincts is a supported revelation, not a forced consequence of the work (2). Reliant upon its own participants, each work can never be the same twice and we react singularly to it, always with variation and nuance when passing through a series of instructions or choices, one movement and one thought after another, and another to follow it.

(1) Blinded pure white, and then a hand in my own, which quietly and intuitively tests the response of my fingers, how I react to the totally unexpected contact, whether I retract, respond, or let myself be led. It becomes apparent that there are two people in this space other than me, who gently and softly lead me in circles, highlight with a slip of a gesture anywhere that my skin is bared, my forearms or neck. They hold and gently grip my shoulders or let me go, so that a pure lack of contact becomes a physical sensation in itself. Seeing only white, I realise that there is no sense of touch like this, that we do not touch enough, and that when we do, it is loaded with assumption and complication. This is a white touch.

(2) Like the string which ties a hot-air balloon to the ground, whichever element wants to let go – body or mind – one holds the other down. Here is someone’s hand and that hand has a pulse and with it I become aware of my own. If I hold this hand for long enough will our pulses synchronise? A voice asks me a rational question and I answer it rationally. Yet I continue to hold a guiding hand on the top of my thoughts, holding them exactly in place. And here I have highlighted this subtle impulse, for here the subtle resounds the loudest. A voice which holds the rope between the balloon and the ground is a voice I always hear, and in this space I rediscover its pitch and tone.

Gemma Sharpe.

Lundahl & Seitl