The Spinning Figure

June 5 – July 14, 2019

Text By Shaun Motsi

               She’s spinning around

1.1 The Spinning Figure represents the human body stretched in impossible, gravity-defying contortions.

1.2 Due to her elasticity, she’s capable of absorbing and recovering from severe bodily harm and torture, even death.

1.3 Her body offers a unique view of the ways human bodies are reconfigured to serve capital, how the natural limitations of our bodies are undermined and pushed to impossible extremes.

               Move outta her way

2.1 In traditional animation, a ‘smear’ is a trick used to depict a figure’s rapid movement.

2.2 Rather than accurately drawing all of the frames that would make up the sequence, an animator will draw distortion into the individual frames themselves, thus reducing the number of frames needed to create the illusion. This also introduces the potential to exaggerate the movements in characteristically cartoonish ways.

2.3 The isolated frame is a surreal artefact, often depicting figures with duplicated body parts or stretched and distorted limbs, blended into abstracted scenarios that evoke the Futurism of Duchamp’s Nu descendant un escalier n° 2.

2.4 In these images, porosity is visibly manifested in an accidental surrealism or abstract figuration.

               She knows you're feeling her

3.1 Her body is the perfect vessel for the absurdity of the smeared figure. What might otherwise appear grotesque (re: 1.2) comes across as comical.

3.2.1 The Tornado spin; 3.2.2 The Pass-by spin; 3.2.3 The Pulling spin; 3.2.4 The Dancing spin; 3.2.5 The Destructive spin; 3.2.6 The Defensive spin; 3.2.7 The Cleaning spin…

               'Cause you like it like this

4.1 The human body by contrast has mutated into a sort of cultural artefact, where the general status of private property applies also to the body, to the way we operate socially with it and the representations we obsessively produce of it.

4.2 In this process of endless (mechanical) reproduction, a lack of definition becomes a material problem.

               She’s breaking it down

5.1 Cartoons depict exaggerated, porous organisms that readily blend into and pour out of their surroundings, merging with and emerging from their animated worlds. The world as accomplice to its characters’ actions.

/** real public space is something like the opposite, it has been made totally passive / we seem less and less able to access the world in this way.. due to increased privatization of the public sphere and these hideous things like H.Y. / ..loosening them up again so they start jiving with us like cartoon worlds. **/

               She’s not the same

6.1 The Spinning Figure is an expression of all the contradictions of the contemporary crowd: its opportunism, narcissism, desire for autonomy and creation, its inability to focus or make up its mind, its constant readiness for transgression and simultaneous submission, its neurosis, paranoia, and fear, as well as its craving for intensity, fun, and distraction. [1]

6.2 Rather than exchange value and definition, she embodies another system of value based on velocity, intensity, and blur; another way of being in the world.

               She know you're feeling her
               'Cause you like it like this.

[1] Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).