the quivering and lively nerve of the now
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the quivering and lively nerve of the now is an experimental filmic cento in three acts after Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector’s iconic Agua Viva. The film offers an argument for body fluidity and abjection in the face of oppression. A celebration of selfhood, desire, and lust, the work reveals a visceral reflection of living/creating the way Clarice Lispector writes. I created visual sequences that revel in abstract carnality to counter this moment of contemporary witch-hunting and politically-sanctioned misogyny. In aggregate, the film presents a poetic love letter to lusty living entangled with nature, consciousness, and temporality.
I first read Agua Viva in 2016, at an inflection point in my practice and in national politics. I felt seen and understood - her explosive internal combustion, her animal and abject approach to nature and selfhood. “She writes the way I draw,” I told everyone. This series picks up where my recent series Slipstream: Table of Contents leaves off, mediating literature through digital art. A single sentence from the book animates the film’s abstract narrative: “I am before, I am almost, I am never.” The film’s title, the quivering and lively nerve of the now, is based on a sentence fragment that resonated with that same ephemeral, uncontainable sentiment.
Throughout the film I read select sentences from Agua Viva to form an aural cento, a poetic collage of her words. The animation includes my graphite drawings and digital and vfx artworks I created. I am grateful to the Gazelli Art House and GAZELLiO residency for supporting this work through my residency in January 2023.
Please note that upon purchase, the buyer will have access to the full video.
ABOUT Nancy Baker Cahill
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