Lightness (moving image commission for the exhibition, Everything Flows: The Art of Getting in the Zone)

lok, susan pui san (2012) Lightness (moving image commission for the exhibition, Everything Flows: The Art of Getting in the Zone). [Show/Exhibition]

Image (JPEG) (Lightness, 2012, multi-channel installation (still))
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Image (JPEG) (Lightness, 2012, multi-channel installation (still))
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Lightness is a new moving image work commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, and funded by the Wellcome Trust. It is one of four projects that have developed out of collaborative dialogues between artists and scientists, around the subject of sporting excellence, in this case with Professor Nicola Clayton (University of Cambridge) and Dr Tali Sharot (UCL). Alongside work by the artists Cornford and Cross, Dryden Goodwin, and Roderick Buchanan, Lightness was presented as part of the exhibition, Everything Flows: The Art of Getting in the Zone. An accompanying programme of talks and events featured Stephen Mumford (Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham and Professor of Metaphysics in the Department of Philosophy), Heather Corcoran (Executive Director of Rhizome, New York), Gareth Evans (Adjunct Film Curator, Whitechapel Gallery), Quentin Cooper (BBC Radio 4, Material World presenter), and Catherine Wood (Curator of Performance, Tate Modern).

Lightness borrows its title from one of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millenium (1988) – on lightness of thought, of language, of science; on ‘the sudden agile leap’, ‘weightless gravity’, and flight. The central subject of the work is the pole vault event – its mechanics and poetics, from training and repetition, to competition. The vault serves as a symbolic gesture of the human capacity and tendency towards aspirations for the future, intermixed with memories of the past, and the role of optimism in evaluating past and future. The goal of achieving literally ever-greater heights, repeatedly defying of gravity, is epitomised in the moment between flying and falling, a fleeting encapsulation of suspension, ‘in the zone’.

Following athletes ranging from beginners to current and future Olympic contenders – the Enfield and Haringey Pole Vault Club at Lee Valley, and Kate Dennison (until recently the British record holder) at Loughborough – the two-screen installation aims to explore the repetition, circularity, and complexity of the pole vault event; the different cognitive processes entailed at various stages both of the vault, and of individual sporting careers; and the insistence of optimism as both rhetoric and technique for both coach and athlete.

Venue Details

  1. Everything Flows: The Art of Getting in the Zone
    • Location: Bexhill-on-sea, UK; Glasgow, Scotland.
    • Dates: 30 Jun - 16 Sep 2012; 2014

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Keywords (uncontrolled): art, culture, de la warr, events, exhibition, film and video umbrella, flow, future, installation, lightness, memory, moving image, optimism, planning, pole vault, science, screen, sport, zone
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts
Item ID: 5348
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Susan Lok
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2012 09:32
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:19

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