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Episode 1
2020 Tesseract: Problems of Origins With Eddie Peake [...]
Film stills x 7

01
Episode 2
"A Dream Of A Real Memory" in the making

02
Episode 3
Marc Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermode [...]

03
Episode 4
Film stills x 5
CIRCA Pictures - Daniel Adhami

04
Episode 5
Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, 1991

05
Episode 6
Eddie Peake, Concrete Pitch, 2018, White Cube Bermon [...]

06
Episode 7
Film stills x 4

07
Episode 8
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 19 [...]

08
Episode 9
Eddie Peake, Amidst A Sea Of Flailing High Heels And [...]

09
Episode 10
Film stills x 9
CIRCA Pictures - Daniel Adhami

10
Episode 11
The Forever Loop, 2015, The Barbican
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #1

11
Episode 12
Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and simulation, 1981

12
Episode 13
Film stills x 9
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #2

13
Episode 14
Paul Virilio, The Lost Dimension, 1991

14
Episode 15
Eddie Peake: “I wanted to do anything but be an ar [...]
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #3

15
Episode 16
Film stills x 2

16
Episode 17
@corrinmitchell and @emmalynne.fisher as dancing gli [...]
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #4

17
Episode 18
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social, 2005

18
Episode 19
Film stills x 3
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #5
Gertrude Gibbons, Rehearsal, Reversal and Carnival, [...]

19
Episode 20
Danny With Love, Eddie Peake is Exploring Impulse, J [...]

20
Episode 21
Eddie Peake, Where You Belong, 2017
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #6

21
Episode 22
Film stills x 7
CIRCA Pictures - Daniel Adhami

22
Episode 23
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #7: Nguzunguzu Boiler Room [...]

23
Episode 24
Mark Wigley, The Architecture of Deconstruction, Der [...]

24
Episode 25
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #8: Umfang | Boiler Room S [...]

25
Episode 26
eddie_peake, "A Dream Of A Real Memory" in the makin [...]

26
Episode 27
Film stills x6
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #8
Charlie Colville, "Reconsidering Relationships throu [...]

27
Episode 28
Étienne Balibar, Politics and the Other Scene, 2002

28
Episode 29
Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #9
Eleanor Beale & Rosa Villanueva, 'A walk to market i [...]

29
Episode 30
Anal House Meltdown - Death Drive, 2015
CIRCA Pictures - Daniel Adhami

30
Episode 31
Film stills x 7

31
BACK TO CALENDAR

CIRCA Calendar x Eddie Peake

The CIRCA Calendar is a daily stream of supporting content that is led by a desire to tacitly inform each artist’s video work that gets screened on the Piccadilly Lights. This programme of content seeks to be impromptu and educative, and offer a new way of delving into the lives and practices of exhibiting artists.

For Eddie Peake’s A Dream Of A Real Memory the CIRCA Calendar will be deliberately stripped back compared to previous months. You will find resources such as CIRCA's reading list, which this month focuses on the “spatial turn” of the late 20th century and the way experiences of space in the midst of considerable political and economic turmoil can be examined and reconsidered. We have also got Eddie Peake together with London's infamous online music broadcasting platform Boiler Room, and will bring you a selection of music sets hand-picked by Peake from the Boiler Room archive. Alongside you will also discover behind the scenes video footage of the making of A Dream Of A Real Memory, film stills, and a number of newly commissioned articles by young writers.

We hope you enjoy.


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Episode 1
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…then proceed through the green screen as a conduit or tesseract, a boundary where we synthesise endings in such a way as to go on, and begin.

Works cited

Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (Granta, 2009)

Louisa Buck ‘Circa: Art for Our Times in Piccadilly Circus’, The Art Newspaper (No. 329, December 2020)

Peter Salmon, An Event, Perhaps: A Biography of Jacques Derrida (Verso, 2020)

Hollis Frampton ‘Fragments of a Tesseract’ (1973) in On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of Hollis Frampton
(MIT, 2015)

2020 Tesseract: Problems of Origins With Eddie Peake
Written by Adam Heardman

[December 1st 2020]

When you first meet it, the phrase, A Dream of a Real Memory (which Eddie Peake has taken as the title for his series of films shot for CIRCA 2020) seems designed to send you hunting for its origin. Peake recently told The Art Newspaper that he was drawn to these words because of their “cohabiting of real and imagined thought”. His title enacts this cohabitation by corrupting its own beginnings. It’s adapted from a short story by the American writer, Wells Tower. An old man, who has just finished painting watercolours of the Mississippi sky, drifts off: “I fell

Eddie Peake: A Dream Of A Real Memory

A Dream Of A Real Memory is a devised drama featuring three characters set within a green screen cyclorama. Primarily, abstract movement and dance are employed as metaphoric means to engage ideas of tension and power dynamics implicit in relationships between people, or in individuals’ internal pursuit of their own self-identity. The footage of the sixty-two-minute video work, screened in daily two-minute episodes over 31 days, is reversed, beginning at "the end” of the performance, showing the performers' tired bodies and messy makeup, and ending at “the beginning” of the performance. The backwards motion of the work is analogous with the distorted and fantastical-seeming realm of both dreams and memories, which though connected to reality can also warp and misrepresent it. Also, by revealing the filmmaker himself, the fracturing of the fourth wall emphasises the deceptive boundaries which dreams, memories, and reality possess. 

‘The work employs the specific characteristics of the Piccadilly screen to create a narrative work that also criticises (laterally, not explicitly) the manipulative means by which capitalist machinery such as advertising entwines itself within our lives, deliberately playing on our desires, our anxieties and so on. I like that this is a work about relationships (in the broadest possible sense of the word) and the looping thought patterns of an obsessive, depressive or psychotic mind, placed within that context.’  - Eddie Peake

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Episode 2
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[December 2nd 2020]

asleep, and what I dreamed was a true memory”. Peake’s title is a deliberate misquote, a mis-memory, both real and imagined. As he says in the same interview, memory is “a kind of self-imposed lie”. And, if Peake’s title nudges at the fabric of remembered time, finding holes here and there, the films themselves almost entirely unravel it.

A Dream of a Real Memory comprises 31 films, each exactly 2 minutes long. Peake stresses that they are sequential, making up a coherent narrative, but they were shot and will be screened individually, one played each day of the year’s final

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Eddie Peake, "A Dream Of A Real Memory" in the making with @corrinmitchell and @emmalynne.fisher, posted across the artist's instagram on Oct 28, 2020

Episode 3
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[December 3rd 2020]

month on the Piccadilly Lights screens in Piccadilly Circus. In the films, two performers move and dance in dialogue with one another in front of a blank green screen. The films are played in reverse, so that the dancers’ actions are eerie and predetermined, and the sequence ends at its beginning. The performers wear face paint reminiscent of Japanese Noh theatre. The full 62-minute film is interrupted by the rigid ‘two minute episodes’ structure, and the dancers’ flow itself is interrupted by moments of laughter, conversation, improvisation, and, occasionally, by the filmmaker, Eddie Peake himself, also wearing face paint, entering

Marc Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity, 1992

An ever-increasing proportion of our lives is spent in supermarkets, airports and hotels, on motorways or in front of TVs, computer and cash machines. This invasion of the world by what Marc Auge calls non-space results in a profound alteration of awareness- something we perceive, but only in a partial and incoherent manner. Auge uses the concept of supermodernity to describe the logic of these late-capitalist phenomena a logic of excessive information and excessive space. In this fascinating and lucid essay he seeks to establish and intellectual armature for an anthropology of supermodernity. Starting with an attempt to disentangle anthropology from history, Auge goes on to map the distinction between place, encrusted with historical monuments and creative social life, and non-place, to which individuals are connected in a uniform manner and where no organic social life is possible. Unlike Baudelairean modernity, where old and new are interwoven, supermodernity is self-contained- from the motorway or aircraft, local or exotic particularities are presented two-dimensionally as a sort of theme-park spectacle. Auge does not suggest that supermodernity is all-encompassing- place still exist outside non-place and tend to reconstitute themselves inside it. But he argues powerfully that we are in transit through non-place for more and more of our time, as if between immense parentheses, and concludes that this new form of solitude should become the subject of an anthropology of its own.

Click here for a pdf of the text

Episode 4
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[December 4th 2020]

the frame with camera in hand, interacting with the dancers verbally and physically.

Just as the work’s title, A Dream of a Real Memory, encourages interpretation with its air of non-specific familiarity and intriguing openness, so the blank green screen seems to invite a viewer’s own projections and interpretations. Accepting this invitation, we’ll here attempt to unpack the films’ themes and concerns, and try to make some sense of their curious power, in a relatively open and associative way. And it makes sense to start with how Peake problematizes the idea of ‘origins’, explores and subverts what it means to

Episode 5
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[December 5th 2020]

begin and what it means to continue. In a word, it makes sense to start with ‘time’.

A tesseract, or ‘hypercube’ is a cube in four dimensions. The tesseract is to a cube what a cube is to a square. For the purposes of this essay, though, we take tesseract to mean something like what the filmmaker Hollis Frampton means when he describes Eadweard Muybridge’s long-exposure photograph of a waterfall. Muybridge, famous for those sequential shots of a horse running, spent much of 1872 photographing Yosemite valley. At this time, he was working with collodion plate photography, a very slow

Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, 1991

Sociologist Henri Lefebvre has considerable claims to be the greatest living philosopher. He is credited with introducing the idea that space is socially produced. His analysis includes a historical reading of how spatial experience has changed over time depending upon social circumstances. Up until the medieval period, space and time were largely experienced through local, lived conditions; times and distances were established by the capacity of the body. In the Renaissance, mathematical systems were developed that allowed space to be broken into fixed units which could be mapped over the land, establishing a system of abstraction allowing for exact measurement and location. Lefebvre contends that abstract space, produced and perpetuated through grids, plans, and schedules, is utilized and dominated by the capitalist system of production. So why do we continue to live our lives structured in this way? Lefebvre suggests that socially produced space and time is held in place through administrative policies, social conventions, and technological systems for living so that each day as people wake up to an alarm, commute to work, watch television, or pay bills, this system of space and time is perpetuated and reproduced.

In particular, his most acclaimed book The Production of Space (1991) is a search for a reconciliation between mental space (the space of the philosophers) and real space (the physical and social spheres in which we all live). In the course of his exploration, Henri Lefebvre moves from metaphysical and ideological considerations of the meaning of space to its experience in the everyday life of home and city. He seeks, in other words, to bridge the gap between the realms of theory and practice, between the mental and the social, and between philosophy and reality. In doing so, he ranges through art, literature, architecture and economics, and further provides a powerful antidote to the sterile and obfuscatory methods and theories characteristic of much recent continental philosophy.

Click here a pdf of the text

Episode 6
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[December 6th 2020]

process with long exposure times. Anything which moved while the photo was being taken ended up looking blurry. In flourishing 19th century San Francisco, there was a great demand for photos of the Californian wilderness, and Muybridge’s contemporaries spent their time capturing the stillness and the vastness of Yosemite’s rocky landscape, or asking the indigenous peoples who lived in the valley to stand still for portraits. Muybridge, however, wanted to experiment, to push the new technology to its limits. He looked for the things out there which move. As Frampton points out, “he seems to positively seek, of all things,

Eddie Peake, Concrete Pitch, 2018, White Cube Bermondsey

‘There’s often a sort of quest for identity in my work – and that, I think, is the staggeringly beautiful thing about being an artist. You are afforded the luxury of creating a space for yourself as an individual in the world.’

"The works in this exhibition weaved autobiographical elements and an examination of self-identity with more general themes of desire, the body, architecture and urban landscape. The title ‘Concrete Pitch’ was inspired by the bare, concrete recreation ground in Finsbury Park in London where Peake grew up, which was used as a playground, a sports field, a meeting place for people of every age, class and ethnicity and location for encounters and scenarios of all kinds. Peake has said: ‘I used to treat things I did like graffiti and football and dance classes as not part of my art, then I had a sort of epiphany. I realised I want all those parts of my life in my art, and vice versa.’ For Peake, whose work can be located within a history of painting and object-making as well as more recent narratives of dance and performance art, the gallery can also be considered a stage; a place to orchestrate dramas of the everyday and to present the rich associative portrait of his childhood neighbourhood as a microcosm of urban, multicultural society.
Peake will be present in the gallery space throughout the exhibition, following a scheduled daily routine. Moving between various constructed spaces which include a private office and a triangular cell-like structure, accessible only by a tall ladder, the artist ‘plays’ himself, both offering up and dismantling the narrative of artistic ego, fictional protagonist and ‘real’ self. In another specially constructed room, visible behind a window, DJs from Kool London broadcast an online radio show during the exhibition. Broadcasting oldskool jungle and drum and bass from East London tower blocks since 1991, Kool FM is one of the longest running underground stations and provided the soundtrack to Peake’s adolescence.

The large-scale sound installation, Stroud Green Road runs through the gallery, consisting of a row of steel tables placed in a snaking line, just as the street of the same name runs through Peake’s neighbourhood. On their tray-like surfaces is an array of objects: small-scale sculptures as well as an eclectic selection of items purchased from shops on Stroud Green Road and several small speakers which emit a low, deep register like a wavering vibration or rattle. Composed by the artist using distorted samples and field recordings from the local area, this abstract soundscape creates a continuously looping hum, while a soft pink light floods the exhibition space. Continuing the theme of revealing and concealing, an airy white curtain hangs full-length from the ceiling, creating a natural spiralling passageway, in the centre of which a split-screen projection shows four dancers, each locked in an individual, looping sequence of complex, choreographed movement. The notion of the loop, a key motif within Peake’s work, is manifested in these repetitive movements, in the daily rituals the artist will be observing, in the sonic structure of the sound sculpture and in the music played by the Kool DJs. For Peake, these devices echo the entrapping loops of thought or behaviour associated with compulsion, obsession and depression.

In several series of paintings, techniques of layering and masking are used to create vivid abstract compositions on canvas or hard, reflective stainless-steel panels. In one group, overlapping, spray-painted rectangles recall the urban patchwork of fly-posters, while in others, graffiti-like mark-making recedes into a bright void. This exploration of the void, whereby elements of the composition are left blank or undone creates works that reflect back to the viewer a sense ennui, even depression. In another group of oil on canvas works, a rainbow-coloured text defines the form of a head in profile spelling out the enigmatic slogans ‘A More Uncomfortable And Realistic History’, and ‘We To The Ramp Go For Relinquish Unearned Privileges And Powers’. Suggesting the direct, angry tone of graffiti, social media and urban music, these works are an expression of ideas that have formerly been implicit in Peake’s work."

Episode 7
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[December 7th 2020]

waterfalls, long exposures of which produce images of a strange, ghostly substance that is in fact the tesseract of water: what is to be seen is not water itself but the virtual volume it occupies during the whole time interval of the exposure.”

Muybridge was perhaps the first to realise that all photographic art (and it’s clear that Muybridge did think of what he was doing as ‘art’) and, later, film (which he pretty much invented), disrupts and revolutionises our sense of how we experience time. He shot waterfalls because he knew they would expose our myth of time being

Episode 8
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[December 8th 2020]

divisible or measurable as a succession of ‘moments’. A still photograph, or even the rapid succession of still photographs which make up a film, tries to give an illusion of time as something we can control, pause, and rebuild. As the word ‘waterfall’, a noun squashed into a verb, suggests, though, three dimensional things within the fourth dimension, time, are always already ‘going on’, are tesseracts of themselves, and our frames of reference are a kind of fiction that we impose upon the world. By dividing up his film across the final days of 2020, and by playing it in

Episode 9
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[December 9th 2020]

reverse, Peake is, like Muybridge, pushing the rubric of filmmaking to its limits and exposing our perception of time as arbitrary. By challenging a photo or a film’s illusion of finite beginnings and endings, the two artists explore the aesthetic and ethical problems of origins.

Peake seems to also take cues from Muybridge’s more famous work, the sequences of photos of horses, humans, and other animals in motion. Muybridge’s project, Animal Locomotion, includes those iconic horse photos, but also studies of stylised human bodies performing gestures and steps like dancers. At some points, Eadweard, like Eddie, steps in front of

Episode 10
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[December 10th 2020]

his own lens, creating a kind of self-portrait. Muybridge’s images of his naked, walking self are done, like all the photos in Animal Locomotion (and like Peake’s films), in front of a blank screen. Most portraits are interested in preserving the sitter, creating an image outside of time that will survive. Muybridge and Peake step into the frame differently, almost anonymously, joining in with the ongoing rush of time in a blank ‘any space’, themselves ‘any body whatsoever’, tesseracts of humans which we glimpse only briefly within our limited allotment of time. In a sense, this becomes an ethical concern.

Episode 11
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[December 11th 2020]

The eking out and portioning of a person’s life into dates and hours has long become associated with labour, working hours imposed as a fundamental structure of control. The simple phrase ‘free time’ suggests some fundamental link between liberty and temporality – to gain time is to gain freedom – and the rise of hourly rates of pay and zero-hours contracts make it clear that workers are not paid for the true value of their labour; rather, they sell that most precious commodity-unit, time. Codifying the essentially arbitrary process of objectifying time into saleable components as a fundamental tenet of human existence

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #1: Prodigy and Sean Price Cypher - Boiler Room Rap Life NY, 2013
Episode 12
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[December 12th 2020]

was one of twentieth century Capitalism’s greatest and most troubling victories. It’s difficult to imagine a life not patterned by hours, minutes, seconds. Art like Muybridge’s and Peake’s uses and exposes these patterns and helps us visualise time as the free continuum it actually is.

There’s also a more contemporary phenomenon associated with units of time which operates in a similarly oppressive way. In current Western, internet-inflected discourse, every year since at least 2016 has been branded by some or many people as “the worst year in history”. A proliferation of memes and tweets in response to everything from Trump

Episode 13
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[December 13th 2020]

to Brexit to Europe’s refugee crisis to the deaths of celebrities captures a vibe that can be, and often is, summed up by the phrase “Fuck 2020”. This year, it’s common to see someone tweet something like, “Another fucking lockdown. Can’t wait for 2020 to end.” Though it’s an attempt to show solidarity and stoicism (hey, man, I know this situation is shit, but we’re all in it together and it will pass) this discourse flourishes (and is allowed to flourish) because it operates as a palliative not only to those suffering in such circumstances but also to those responsible.

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #2: Actress x LCO Boiler Room London Live Set, 2017
Episode 14
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[December 14th 2020]

The “Fuck 2020” discourse explicitly blames an arbitrary bracket of time for everything that goes wrong within it, as if the 365 days marking two-thousand-and-twenty years since the date when Jesus Christ may or may not have been born bears any fundamental relationship to the misfortunes and instances of deliberate malice which they contain. In shifting the blame for things like the coronavirus pandemic from those human beings and those oppressive systems which are actually responsible onto an arbitrary and nebulous concept like “2020”, this discourse encourages people to consider malicious geopolitical activity and random bad luck as equivalents. Look,

Episode 15
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[December 15th 2020]

for example, at 2016, when tweets mourning David Bowie, or any of the public figures who also died that year, were expressed in exactly the same tone and language as tweets about the result of a Brexit vote engineered by deliberate actors with aspirations of power and profit. Time units have been used in two ways as tools of control: first, by objectifying and commodifying them as tradable things and, second, by sort of personifying them as agents of blame. Any new form of discourse which hopes to enact a meaningful resistance might direct itself against this unit-based commodification and

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room 3#: Gwilym Gold - 'Faithless Arms' - live in the Boiler Room, 2012
Episode 16
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[December 16th 2020]

personification of time. Peake’s films, by occupying and then deconstructing time measurements, dissolving frames back into a continuum – at the very end of a year, and a decade, defined by rising fascism, government mismanagement of crises, and more – reminds us that these problems won’t simply end at midnight on December 31st. Resistance is a continuous act and a revolution isn’t linear.

Peake’s films certainly aren’t explicitly political. Their two-minute slot each day will, like all the works in the CIRCA 2020 project, interrupt Piccadilly Lights’ otherwise constant stream of logos and adverts, which is itself a radical act of anti-Capitalist

Episode 17
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[December 17th 2020]

disruption, but the content of the work is certainly not as overtly politicised as its CIRCA 2020 predecessor, Cauleen Smith’s extraordinarily powerful COVID MANIFESTO, which ran throughout November. This being said, it’s hard not to read Peake’s videos within the context of a debate which has come to rage around contemporary, conceptual art and thought in what has come to be known as the “post-truth” era.

A Dream of a Real Memory is predicated on the corruption of ‘truth’ by memory. As we’ve seen, the title deliberately dispenses with the word ‘true’ from the original quote that it adapts. The

@eddie_peake, “A Dream Of A Real Memory” in the making, with @corrinmitchell and @emmalynne.fisher as dancing glitches. Nov 11, 2020

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #4: Sarah Farina Boiler Room London DJ Set, 2015
Episode 18
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[December 18th 2020]

films themselves are challenging, conceptual, weird. The filmmaker enters the frame and you see his camera. The “actors” break “character”, and the whole thing seems to deconstruct itself, showing its processes. It could be argued that, in taking place in front of a green screen that is yet to have a CGI background projected onto it in post-production (as green screens normally do) the entire film itself exists ‘as process’, in a zone of endless and endlessly unrealised potential, ‘any space whatever’ and also decidedly ‘no-space’. Because of these facts, and because they will be broadcast in such a high-profile

Episode 19
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[December 19th 2020]

public space, the films unavoidably enter into a broad and crucial contemporary debate about art, language, politics, and “truth”.

One way of beginning to understand this debate is by looking briefly at one of its focal points: the legacy of the French-Algerian philosopher, Jacques Derrida. To paraphrase briefly (and hopefully not too reductively), Derrida, from the 1960s until just after the dawn of the new millennium, set about deconstructing some of the fundamental, received notions upon which all Western philosophy was built. For Derrida, it was a problem of ‘origin’.

The problem with origins is that they end up privileging

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #5: Newham Generals aka D Double E & Footsie Boiler Room Live Set, 2012
Episode 20
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[December 20th 2020]

something, becoming a system of power. Western philosophical thought got very comfortable with Plato’s idea that our ‘perception’ of the world was secondary to ‘reality’, that when we saw or thought about something, it was the ‘something’ that was more ‘real’ than the thought. Reality/thought then becomes a binary opposition with one term privileged over the other. This teleology was responsible for the idea of a Golden Age at some unspecified point in the past from which we have fallen (consider Eden), and that our lived experience is one of deterioration, or, at least, further departure from God or

Episode 21
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[December 21st 2020]

Truth.

And, to paraphrase in a way that’s definitely too brief and reductive, Western philosophy relied on observing these strict binaries, from Plato to Aristotle to Descartes to Hegel to the Nazi Heidegger. Derrida interrupted this sequence with his idea of ‘différance’, suggesting that stuff exists just because it’s different from other stuff. Nothing ‘came first’. The sequencing of things, the idea of privileged binaries, even the construction of ‘time’ itself, is a fallacious human projection from an impossible or imagined standpoint outside of time.

Derrida’s implied idea that there’s no objective original ‘truth’ behind our perceptions of the world

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #6: Legowelt | Thumping 808 Live Set | Boiler Room BUDx Santiago
Episode 22
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[December 22nd 2020]

was hugely influential in post-modern discourse from philosophy to literature to art, but also made him a lot of enemies. And, in his excellent new biography of the philosopher, Peter Salmon diagnoses a contemporary strain of anti-Derridean criticism. He identifies commentators on the ‘post-truth’ age such as Michael D’Ancona and Michiko Kakutani, the latter of whom, in his 2017 book, The Death of Truth, “blames ‘academics promoting the gospel of postmodernism’ for the rise of Donald Trump.”

Derrida’s philosophy – or, more accurately, certain schools of thought and literature that it influenced – is currently being seen as giving license to a

Episode 23
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[December 23rd 2020]

political arena in which anyone can say anything without recourse to social or academic authority. This space is easily co-opted by reactionaries, and power rests with whoever speaks loudest, longest, least-coherently.

It’s a compelling case, and one which is pertinent to the contemporary creative arts and their postmodern inheritance. What, for example, becomes of poets influenced by 20th and 21st century writers like John Ashbery, for whom deconstructing the historically-oppressive architecture of the English language into something abstract and expressive was a radical act of creation, but whose freely-associative, percussive, furiously allusive poesy now risks sounding like Trumpspeak? What needs

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #7: Nguzunguzu Boiler Room Los Angeles DJ Set, 2016
Episode 24
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[December 24th 2020]

to be considered by a filmmaker like Eddie Peake when he slickly and decidedly takes apart the systems of narrative filmmaking, anatomises ‘dance’, and picks apart ‘time’? Though Peake is keen to stress that his latest work doesn’t explicitly contain “any reference to our current state”, the ways in which he overcomes the type of criticism that D’Ancona and Kakutani level against Derrida’s followers is quintessential 2020: he does it by reconsidering ‘screens’ as, rather than ‘barriers’, something more like ‘conduits’. In the age of video-chat Christmases and normalised paradoxes like “social distance”, Peake explores how meeting and penetrating various

Episode 25
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[December 25th 2020]

‘screens’ performs an erotics and an ethics of contact.

To unpack this, it’s important to acknowledge something hitherto unmentioned. These films are very sexy. Peake is unabashedly interested in making art that is erotic. In the December 16th video, one performer flexes and flows through Olympian, gladiatorial poses while the other lies, odalisque and poised, at the room’s centre. Elsewhere they contort their bodies into seductive forms, licensing their own roving hands, getting a feel for themselves. As they caress themselves and each other, the roving handheld camera performs its own erotic motions, its own kind of optic caress, straddling

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #8: Umfang | Boiler Room Sydney | DJ Set, 2019
Episode 26
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[December 26th 2020]

boundaries, stepping over lines. This is Eddie Peake, remember, an artist probably best-known for staging a nude football match in Burlington Gardens.

But the erotics of the film relies on a dialogue between moments of stylised tension, arched backs and twisting throats, offset with those moments of release when the performers laugh, joke, and break the fourth wall. In one of these moments, as mentioned, Peake himself walks into the set. The dancers stroke his face. He has stepped through the screen and made contact, but this contact would mean far less if he hadn’t had to overcome a boundary

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eddie_peake, "A Dream Of A Real Memory" in the making, Devising with @corrinmitchell and @emmalynne.fisher, Oct 29, 2020

Episode 27
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[December 27th 2020]

to achieve it. It’s participatory rather than objectifying. Again, the film’s title signals the importance of this kind of jouissance, this erotics of deconstruction. It is taken (remember?) from a short story by Wells Tower. His protagonist, an elderly wheelchair-user who is rediscovering his latent sex drive, falls asleep and dreams of a “true memory”. In this dream of a real memory, he’s kissing a former sweetheart on top of a grave. Leaning against a screen which separates the living from the dead, two mouths meet in an embrace. The sexiness of it is compounded by its proximity to death.

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #8: Ron Obvious “I Keep Down" - Boiler Room Debuts, 2015
Episode 28
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[December 28th 2020]

The erotics relies again on slipping across divides like living/dead, waking/sleeping. It also relies on the cheeky art of collapsing the boundary between “real and imagined thought” which Peake notes (the ‘true memory’ belongs to a fictional character). Tower’s text, like Peake’s films, reaches in two directions, in and out, overcoming the spaces between two subjectivities in an act of erotic union. Wells Tower – whose own name evokes this sense of reaching out in two directions, deep into the earth like a well, up to the sky like a tower, as the dancers will do in Peake’s December

Episode 29
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[December 29th 2020]

15th film, bodies bent forward with arms outstretched, then turned to one side so the hands point up, down – knows that meeting then overcoming a boundary is an important act of resistance to structure, a dissolve around a fissure, a contact with An Other who was divided from you by some system. Eddie Peake (whose own name invites similar close-reading: eddies in streams are points of reflux where the flow regresses in whorls. This happens in, among other places, river channels and the space-time continuum. The relationship between ‘Peake’ and ‘Tower’ is clear) knows this, too.

After making this up-down

Eddie Peake x Boiler Room #9: Dr. Rubinstein | Boiler Room x Dekmantel Festival, 2019
Episode 30
PLAY

[December 30th 2020]

gesture on Dec 15th, the dancers will barrel-roll and look the other way, the opposite arms reaching down like a grave, up like a headstone. The movements of the two performers seem always to be built around this grammar of mirroring, combining point with counterpoint, straddling some boundary like a mirror/screen.

On December 1st, 2020, I will cycle to Piccadilly Square. I’ll leave only just enough time to get there for 20:20, and will have to rush to make it. I’ll watch Eddie’s opening (closing) film. The soundtrack is the world. Will I do this every day until

Anal House Meltdown - Death Drive, 2015

On 16 October 2015, a collective of London’s most creative and celebrated young artists release their debut track, Death Drive. The single is a co-release from The Vinyl Factory and HYMN, artist Eddie Peake’s record label, founded with VF.

Death Drive is a peak-time electronic club track that features Eddie Peake, Prem Sahib and George Henry-Longly on both production and vocals, and co-produced by long time collaborator Tim Goalen; inspired by and invoking the heady dance floors of their Anal House Meltdown parties, the pounding excitement of long nights at Berghain, the legendary Berlin club, and intense but fleeting romantic trysts facilitated by clubs and parties. Resident Berghain DJ and producer Fiedel has created a remix that will also feature on the release.

The accompanying cover artwork by the trio features a group of the artists’ lovers and friends, and the video, produced by AHMD, has been created from footage shot on the dancefloor of their parties.

Peake, Sahib and Henry-Longly are three of the most exciting artists working in the UK today, and this project will coincide with Frieze 2015, during which they will launch the release with a party at Corsica Studios as part of a collaborative club night with Chapter 10. October 8th also sees Peake reveal his new commission for The Curve in the Barbican, and Sahib will open a solo show at the ICA on 23 September.

“We wanted to create a track that both embodies the spirit of our clubnight, Anal House Meltdown, and that we would love to play at it. We wanted it to have an epic and odyssey like feeling. As such we knew we wanted it to be over ten minutes long and to have several different phases, but to be unified by a constantly charged sense of sexual and romantic longing."

Click here for the i-D article on AHMD

Episode 31
PLAY

[December 31st 2020]

December 31st, 2020? On this last, first day, the dancers laugh, stretch, warm-up, preparing for what’s to come and has already happened.

At which point nothing remains but for me to stride into the room. I ask Eddie for directions, salute the beautiful bodies, make sure to go the opposite way to which I’m pointed, and slip between two frames, rounding an impossibly thin corner in the glance of two worlds, then proceed…

Eddie Peake, A Dream of a Memory, 2020, Piccadilly Screen, London

…then proceed through the green screen as a conduit or tesseract, a boundary where we synthesise endings in such a way as to go on, and begin.

Works cited

Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (Granta, 2009)

Louisa Buck ‘Circa: Art for Our Times in Piccadilly Circus’, The Art Newspaper (No. 329, December 2020)

Peter Salmon, An Event, Perhaps: A Biography of Jacques Derrida (Verso, 2020)

Hollis Frampton ‘Fragments of a Tesseract’ (1973) in On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of Hollis Frampton (MIT, 2015)

2020 Tesseract: Problems of Origins With Eddie Peake

Written by Adam Heardman

December 1st, 2020

[December 1st 2020]

When you first meet it, the phrase, A Dream of a Real Memory (which Eddie Peake has taken as the title for his series of films shot for CIRCA 2020) seems designed to send you hunting for its origin. Peake recently told The Art Newspaper that he was drawn to these words because of their “cohabiting of real and imagined thought”. His title enacts this cohabitation by corrupting its own beginnings. It’s adapted from a short story by the American writer, Wells Tower. An old man, who has just finished painting watercolours of the Mississippi sky, drifts off: “I fell

[December 2nd 2020]

asleep, and what I dreamed was a true memory”. Peake’s title is a deliberate misquote, a mis-memory, both real and imagined. As he says in the same interview, memory is “a kind of self-imposed lie”. And, if Peake’s title nudges at the fabric of remembered time, finding holes here and there, the films themselves almost entirely unravel it.

A Dream of a Real Memory comprises 31 films, each exactly 2 minutes long. Peake stresses that they are sequential, making up a coherent narrative, but they were shot and will be screened individually, one played each day of the year’s final

[December 3rd 2020]

month on the Piccadilly Lights screens in Piccadilly Circus. In the films, two performers move and dance in dialogue with one another in front of a blank green screen. The films are played in reverse, so that the dancers’ actions are eerie and predetermined, and the sequence ends at its beginning. The performers wear face paint reminiscent of Japanese Noh theatre. The full 62-minute film is interrupted by the rigid ‘two minute episodes’ structure, and the dancers’ flow itself is interrupted by moments of laughter, conversation, improvisation, and, occasionally, by the filmmaker, Eddie Peake himself, also wearing face paint, entering

[December 4th 2020]

the frame with camera in hand, interacting with the dancers verbally and physically. 

Just as the work’s title, A Dream of a Real Memory, encourages interpretation with its air of non-specific familiarity and intriguing openness, so the blank green screen seems to invite a viewer’s own projections and interpretations. Accepting this invitation, we’ll here attempt to unpack the films’ themes and concerns, and try to make some sense of their curious power, in a relatively open and associative way. And it makes sense to start with how Peake problematizes the idea of ‘origins’, explores and subverts what it means to  

[December 5th 2020]

begin and what it means to continue. In a word, it makes sense to start with ‘time’.

A tesseract, or ‘hypercube’ is a cube in four dimensions. The tesseract is to a cube what a cube is to a square. For the purposes of this essay, though, we take tesseract to mean something like what the filmmaker Hollis Frampton means when he describes Eadweard Muybridge’s long-exposure photograph of a waterfall. Muybridge, famous for those sequential shots of a horse running, spent much of 1872 photographing Yosemite valley. At this time, he was working with collodion plate photography, a very slow

[December 6th 2020]

process with long exposure times. Anything which moved while the photo was being taken ended up looking blurry. In flourishing 19th century San Francisco, there was a great demand for photos of the Californian wilderness, and Muybridge’s contemporaries spent their time capturing the stillness and the vastness of Yosemite’s rocky landscape, or asking the indigenous peoples who lived in the valley to stand still for portraits. Muybridge, however, wanted to experiment, to push the new technology to its limits. He looked for the things out there which move. As Frampton points out, “he seems to positively seek, of all things,  

[December 7th 2020]

waterfalls, long exposures of which produce images of a strange, ghostly substance that is in fact the tesseract of water: what is to be seen is not water itself but the virtual volume it occupies during the whole time interval of the exposure.” 

Muybridge was perhaps the first to realise that all photographic art (and it’s clear that Muybridge did think of what he was doing as ‘art’) and, later, film (which he pretty much invented), disrupts and revolutionises our sense of how we experience time. He shot waterfalls because he knew they would expose our myth of time being

[December 8th 2020]

divisible or measurable as a succession of ‘moments’. A still photograph, or even the rapid succession of still photographs which make up a film, tries to give an illusion of time as something we can control, pause, and rebuild. As the word ‘waterfall’, a noun squashed into a verb, suggests, though, three dimensional things within the fourth dimension, time, are always already ‘going on’, are tesseracts of themselves, and our frames of reference are a kind of fiction that we impose upon the world. By dividing up his film across the final days of 2020, and by playing it in  

[December 9th 2020]

reverse, Peake is, like Muybridge, pushing the rubric of filmmaking to its limits and exposing our perception of time as arbitrary. By challenging a photo or a film’s illusion of finite beginnings and endings, the two artists explore the aesthetic and ethical problems of origins.

Peake seems to also take cues from Muybridge’s more famous work, the sequences of photos of horses, humans, and other animals in motion. Muybridge’s project, Animal Locomotion, includes those iconic horse photos, but also studies of stylised human bodies performing gestures and steps like dancers. At some points, Eadweard, like Eddie, steps in front of

[December 10th 2020]

his own lens, creating a kind of self-portrait. Muybridge’s images of his naked, walking self are done, like all the photos in Animal Locomotion (and like Peake’s films), in front of a blank screen. Most portraits are interested in preserving the sitter, creating an image outside of time that will survive. Muybridge and Peake step into the frame differently, almost anonymously, joining in with the ongoing rush of time in a blank ‘any space’, themselves ‘any body whatsoever’, tesseracts of humans which we glimpse only briefly within our limited allotment of time. In a sense, this becomes an ethical concern.

[December 11th 2020]

The eking out and portioning of a person’s life into dates and hours has long become associated with labour, working hours imposed as a fundamental structure of control. The simple phrase ‘free time’ suggests some fundamental link between liberty and temporality – to gain time is to gain freedom – and the rise of hourly rates of pay and zero-hours contracts make it clear that workers are not paid for the true value of their labour; rather, they sell that most precious commodity-unit, time. Codifying the essentially arbitrary process of objectifying time into saleable components as a fundamental tenet of human existence

[December 12th 2020]

was one of twentieth century Capitalism’s greatest and most troubling victories. It’s difficult to imagine a life not patterned by hours, minutes, seconds. Art like Muybridge’s and Peake’s uses and exposes these patterns and helps us visualise time as the free continuum it actually is.

There’s also a more contemporary phenomenon associated with units of time which operates in a similarly oppressive way. In current Western, internet-inflected discourse, every year since at least 2016 has been branded by some or many people as “the worst year in history”. A proliferation of memes and tweets in response to everything from Trump

[December 13th 2020]

to Brexit to Europe’s refugee crisis to the deaths of celebrities captures a vibe that can be, and often is, summed up by the phrase “Fuck 2020”. This year, it’s common to see someone tweet something like, “Another fucking lockdown. Can’t wait for 2020 to end.” Though it’s an attempt to show solidarity and stoicism (hey, man, I know this situation is shit, but we’re all in it together and it will pass) this discourse flourishes (and is allowed to flourish) because it operates as a palliative not only to those suffering in such circumstances but also to those responsible.

[December 14th 2020]

The “Fuck 2020” discourse explicitly blames an arbitrary bracket of time for everything that goes wrong within it, as if the 365 days marking two-thousand-and-twenty years since the date when Jesus Christ may or may not have been born bears any fundamental relationship to the misfortunes and instances of deliberate malice which they contain. In shifting the blame for things like the coronavirus pandemic from those human beings and those oppressive systems which are actually responsible onto an arbitrary and nebulous concept like “2020”, this discourse encourages people to consider malicious geopolitical activity and random bad luck as equivalents. Look,

[December 15th 2020]

for example, at 2016, when tweets mourning David Bowie, or any of the public figures who also died that year, were expressed in exactly the same tone and language as tweets about the result of a Brexit vote engineered by deliberate actors with aspirations of power and profit. Time units have been used in two ways as tools of control: first, by objectifying and commodifying them as tradable things and, second, by sort of personifying them as agents of blame. Any new form of discourse which hopes to enact a meaningful resistance might direct itself against this unit-based commodification and 

[December 16th 2020]

personification of time. Peake’s films, by occupying and then deconstructing time measurements, dissolving frames back into a continuum – at the very end of a year, and a decade, defined by rising fascism, government mismanagement of crises, and more – reminds us that these problems won’t simply end at midnight on December 31st. Resistance is a continuous act and a revolution isn’t linear.

Peake’s films certainly aren’t explicitly political. Their two-minute slot each day will, like all the works in the CIRCA 2020 project, interrupt Piccadilly Lights’ otherwise constant stream of logos and adverts, which is itself a radical act of anti-Capitalist 

[December 17th 2020]

disruption, but the content of the work is certainly not as overtly politicised as its CIRCA 2020 predecessor, Cauleen Smith’s extraordinarily powerful COVID MANIFESTO, which ran throughout November. This being said, it’s hard not to read Peake’s videos within the context of a debate which has come to rage around contemporary, conceptual art and thought in what has come to be known as the “post-truth” era.

A Dream of a Real Memory is predicated on the corruption of ‘truth’ by memory. As we’ve seen, the title deliberately dispenses with the word ‘true’ from the original quote that it adapts. The

[December 18th 2020]

films themselves are challenging, conceptual, weird. The filmmaker enters the frame and you see his camera. The “actors” break “character”, and the whole thing seems to deconstruct itself, showing its processes. It could be argued that, in taking place in front of a green screen that is yet to have a CGI background projected onto it in post-production (as green screens normally do) the entire film itself exists ‘as process’, in a zone of endless and endlessly unrealised potential, ‘any space whatever’ and also decidedly ‘no-space’. Because of these facts, and because they will be broadcast in such a high-profile  

[December 19th 2020]

public space, the films unavoidably enter into a broad and crucial contemporary debate about art, language, politics, and “truth”. 

One way of beginning to understand this debate is by looking briefly at one of its focal points: the legacy of the French-Algerian philosopher, Jacques Derrida. To paraphrase briefly (and hopefully not too reductively), Derrida, from the 1960s until just after the dawn of the new millennium, set about deconstructing some of the fundamental, received notions upon which all Western philosophy was built. For Derrida, it was a problem of ‘origin’.

The problem with origins is that they end up privileging 

[December 20th 2020]

something, becoming a system of power. Western philosophical thought got very comfortable with Plato’s idea that our ‘perception’ of the world was secondary to ‘reality’, that when we saw or thought about something, it was the ‘something’ that was more ‘real’ than the thought. Reality/thought then becomes a binary opposition with one term privileged over the other. This teleology was responsible for the idea of a Golden Age at some unspecified point in the past from which we have fallen (consider Eden), and that our lived experience is one of deterioration, or, at least, further departure from God or 

[December 21st 2020]

Truth. 

And, to paraphrase in a way that’s definitely too brief and reductive, Western philosophy relied on observing these strict binaries, from Plato to Aristotle to Descartes to Hegel to the Nazi Heidegger. Derrida interrupted this sequence with his idea of ‘différance’, suggesting that stuff exists just because it’s different from other stuff. Nothing ‘came first’. The sequencing of things, the idea of privileged binaries, even the construction of ‘time’ itself, is a fallacious human projection from an impossible or imagined standpoint outside of time.

Derrida’s implied idea that there’s no objective original ‘truth’ behind our perceptions of the world 

[December 22nd 2020]

was hugely influential in post-modern discourse from philosophy to literature to art, but also made him a lot of enemies. And, in his excellent new biography of the philosopher, Peter Salmon diagnoses a contemporary strain of anti-Derridean criticism. He identifies commentators on the ‘post-truth’ age such as Michael D’Ancona and Michiko Kakutani, the latter of whom, in his 2017 book, The Death of Truth, “blames ‘academics promoting the gospel of postmodernism’ for the rise of Donald Trump.”

Derrida’s philosophy – or, more accurately, certain schools of thought and literature that it influenced – is currently being seen as giving license to a 

[December 23rd 2020]

political arena in which anyone can say anything without recourse to social or academic authority. This space is easily co-opted by reactionaries, and power rests with whoever speaks loudest, longest, least-coherently. 

It’s a compelling case, and one which is pertinent to the contemporary creative arts and their postmodern inheritance. What, for example, becomes of poets influenced by 20th and 21st century writers like John Ashbery, for whom deconstructing the historically-oppressive architecture of the English language into something abstract and expressive was a radical act of creation, but whose freely-associative, percussive, furiously allusive poesy now risks sounding like Trumpspeak? What needs

[December 24th 2020]

to be considered by a filmmaker like Eddie Peake when he slickly and decidedly takes apart the systems of narrative filmmaking, anatomises ‘dance’, and picks apart ‘time’? Though Peake is keen to stress that his latest work doesn’t explicitly contain “any reference to our current state”, the ways in which he overcomes the type of criticism that D’Ancona and Kakutani level against Derrida’s followers is quintessential 2020: he does it by reconsidering ‘screens’ as, rather than ‘barriers’, something more like ‘conduits’. In the age of video-chat Christmases and normalised paradoxes like “social distance”, Peake explores how meeting and penetrating various   

[December 25th 2020]

‘screens’ performs an erotics and an ethics of contact.

To unpack this, it’s important to acknowledge something hitherto unmentioned. These films are very sexy. Peake is unabashedly interested in making art that is erotic. In the December 16th video, one performer flexes and flows through Olympian, gladiatorial poses while the other lies, odalisque and poised, at the room’s centre. Elsewhere they contort their bodies into seductive forms, licensing their own roving hands, getting a feel for themselves. As they caress themselves and each other, the roving handheld camera performs its own erotic motions, its own kind of optic caress, straddling

[December 26th 2020]

boundaries, stepping over lines. This is Eddie Peake, remember, an artist probably best-known for staging a nude football match in Burlington Gardens. 

But the erotics of the film relies on a dialogue between moments of stylised tension, arched backs and twisting throats, offset with those moments of release when the performers laugh, joke, and break the fourth wall. In one of these moments, as mentioned, Peake himself walks into the set. The dancers stroke his face. He has stepped through the screen and made contact, but this contact would mean far less if he hadn’t had to overcome a boundary 

[December 27th 2020]

to achieve it. It’s participatory rather than objectifying. Again, the film’s title signals the importance of this kind of jouissance, this erotics of deconstruction. It is taken (remember?) from a short story by Wells Tower. His protagonist, an elderly wheelchair-user who is rediscovering his latent sex drive, falls asleep and dreams of a “true memory”. In this dream of a real memory, he’s kissing a former sweetheart on top of a grave. Leaning against a screen which separates the living from the dead, two mouths meet in an embrace. The sexiness of it is compounded by its proximity to death.

[December 28th 2020]

The erotics relies again on slipping across divides like living/dead, waking/sleeping. It also relies on the cheeky art of collapsing the boundary between “real and imagined thought” which Peake notes (the ‘true memory’ belongs to a fictional character). Tower’s text, like Peake’s films, reaches in two directions, in and out, overcoming the spaces between two subjectivities in an act of erotic union. Wells Tower – whose own name evokes this sense of reaching out in two directions, deep into the earth like a well, up to the sky like a tower, as the dancers will do in Peake’s December  

[December 29th 2020]

15th film, bodies bent forward with arms outstretched, then turned to one side so the hands point up, down – knows that meeting then overcoming a boundary is an important act of resistance to structure, a dissolve around a fissure, a contact with An Other who was divided from you by some system. Eddie Peake (whose own name invites similar close-reading: eddies in streams are points of reflux where the flow regresses in whorls. This happens in, among other places, river channels and the space-time continuum. The relationship between ‘Peake’ and ‘Tower’ is clear) knows this, too. 

After making this up-down 

[December 30th 2020]

gesture on Dec 15th, the dancers will barrel-roll and look the other way, the opposite arms reaching down like a grave, up like a headstone. The movements of the two performers seem always to be built around this grammar of mirroring, combining point with counterpoint, straddling some boundary like a mirror/screen.

On December 1st, 2020, I will cycle to Piccadilly Square. I’ll leave only just enough time to get there for 20:20, and will have to rush to make it. I’ll watch Eddie’s opening (closing) film. The soundtrack is the world. Will I do this every day until

[December 31st 2020]

December 31st, 2020? On this last, first day, the dancers laugh, stretch, warm-up, preparing for what’s to come and has already happened. 

At which point nothing remains but for me to stride into the room. I ask Eddie for directions, salute the beautiful bodies, make sure to go the opposite way to which I’m pointed, and slip between two frames, rounding an impossibly thin corner in the glance of two worlds, then proceed…