“In fact life itself is comparatively deficient in survival value. The art of persistence is to be dead. Only inorganic things persist for great lengths of time. A rock survives for eight hundred million years; whereas the limit for a tree is about a thousand years, for a man [sic] or an elephant about fifty or one hundred years, for a dog about twelve years, for an insect about one year.” Whitehead, A Function of Reason
A Sicknesse, A Ston [CORAL] is an online performance in two parts, audio only and visual only for different access needs. This first iteration of the work is presented as visual only, with no sound, with the audio-only part in production. The piece is based on The Peterborough Lapidary, a mediaeval Church manuscript describing the medicinal properties of stones. A Sicknesse, A Ston [CORAL] is a consideration of deep time, human-centred terms of life, and European mediaeval conceptions of animism, This animism is present throughout mediaeval lapidaries, where stones can reproduce, affect the weather, and human fate; more widely it is evident in middle english words such as ‘thyng of quiknes’ for a living being. This performance is part of a wider project which considers human-lithic intimacy and the relationship between stones and illness, particularly in mediaeval lapidary medicine.
The work is slow, as an invitation to slow down. And you can watch it at human speed, or slow it to the equivalent time frame in the lifespan of a coral or a tree, or speed it up to that of a dog or an insect.
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A Sicknesse, A Ston [CORAL], Single channel video, work in progress. Starring June Lam, DOP Jos Bitelli. Chapter 1 of project A Sicknesse, A Ston. Acting: June Lam; DOP: Jos Bitelli; editing: Sam Williams.