The humble subtitle translates foreign films and tries to keep pace with TV news, faithfully following the action. Adam J B Walker and Vicki Thornton’s anarchic live performance ‘undertitled’ asks what happens when this normal hierarchy is reversed and subtitle comes before script.
In cinema and television, subtitles function as a marker of foreign language ‘high-brow’ status or site of humorous mistranslation or cultural gaffe. Subtitle and cinema audience alike are intended to receive the film, not participate in it - but here, subtitles and asides from the seats and aisles converse with and affect that which appears on screen. Camera operators are performers and vice versa, as the performance imagines its own future filmic (mis-)translation.
Selected as part of the Projections open call.
Adam J B Walker works with expanded text and performance to explore questions of politics, ethics and the public sphere. He is currently undertaking a practice-led PhD at the Royal College of Art, and has previously performed and exhibited at Tate Modern, Camden Arts Centre and the ICA, London; and, most recently, Yermilov Centre and IZOLYATSIA Platform for Cultural Initiatives in Ukraine.
Vicki Thornton's moving image practice combines documentary and fiction filmmaking approaches to examine relationships between cultural memory, performance and identity. She is currently shooting her first feature-length documentary film, (N)OSTALGIA, whilst undertaking a practice-led PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. Recent presentations of her work have taken place at IZOLYATSIA Platform for Cultural Initiatives and Yermilov Centre, Ukraine; Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic; PÖFF Black Nights, Tallinn, Estonia and DOKLeipzig, Germany.
Image: Previous collaboration between Vicki Thornton and Adam J B Walker: TOMBOLA! (2017-18). A live participatory performance and subsequent two-screen video installation.
BBFC Advice: adv 15