Deirdre Logue

Bio / Artist Statement Writing Film and Video I Hate Deirdre Logue CV Contact

Deirdre Logue's Enlightened Nonsense

by Mike Hoolboom

Nothing ever happens for the first time. History, my history, is an echo. Like the words that come out of my mouth. I have never used a word for the first time, though I want to, desperately. I want to get out of the trap of repeating, of using someone else’s words (whose?) to describe my own experience. I want to invent, to make art with my mouth. But whenever I try, I stop making any sense at all.

Deirdre Logue’s Enlightened Nonsense is a series of ten 16mm films, mastered on Betacam SP, and transferred to DVD so it can loop in gallery settings.

Everywhere I see her hands. Touching, scratching, toning, erasing. These pictures have come out of her hands. Out of her body and the body of film. She has kneaded this emulsion, allowed it to bear its secrets, to impress upon its transport of emulsion and acetate, the beginnings of witness.

This is an action movie with one protagonist. A monologue of the body. Not a confession, but a testimonial. It is a portrait of everyone who looks, a study of compulsion and repetition, in other words, the way we make meaning. Our selves. It is photographed of course in close-up.

Each action is as simple as falling down. Starting over. Getting hit by a ball. Drinking milk. Removing tape from your face. Wishing it could change but it can’t. Putting magic marker stitches on your arms and face. No action appears just once, but over and again. This is the way the body remembers and forgets. Or better: this is the way the body performs the join of the past and present. In order to remember, it must forget.

These are letters from the department of redundancy department.

I have always loved titles. Imagine my delight, my delirium even, in discovering ‘foreign’ films which typically featured hundreds of titles. Walter Ong: “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then why does it have to be a saying?” Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children, denied the task of naming. Deirdre Logue has produced titles for each of her labours, which appear like headings on a specimen jar. Here is a list, beginning with my favourite, in a descending index of pleasure.

  1. Always a Bridesmaid…Never a Bride of Frankenstein
  2. Sleep Study
  3. H2Oh Oh
  4. Fall
  5. Moohead
  6. Milk and Cream
  7. Patch
  8. Scratch
  9. Road Trip
  10. Tape
  11. Enchanted Nonsense

Deirdre’s work is a kind of departure for what cannot be rehearsed in life. The artist performs in each film. This work is too important to be left to others. She never leaves the stage of the frame, and never speaks, she lets her body do the talking. She shows, demonstrating the cost of living in a body. She offers us the trial of ideas and their execution, her skin appearing as a book, written over and over, and without end.

Perhaps the collection of our habits is what we call personality.

Sometimes she needs company. She doesn’t invite someone else because there is no way to share this making, this reproduction. She is giving birth alone. But still she needs company. She finds it not in other people but in other pictures. She speaks as a picture to other pictures. An advertisement for Jello. Broken glasses. A bed making and unmaking itself. A mother speaking to her daughter.

“It would be a lot more convenient if we could talk tomorrow unless it’s something very very important.”

Last night I dreamt of Deirdre Logue. In my dream I walk to the fab corner store newly opened. It has everything: melons from Guatemala, ice cream from the Ivory Coast, one-piece acrylic chairs from New York. I happily stuff my shopping cart and proceed to the check-out where I point to a brownish mound of something that looks suspiciously like shit. “What is it?” I ask. The handsome man at the counter finishes stuffing a human-size chocolate egg into one of the bags. “That’s time. And I’m afraid it’s been reserved for the artist.” When I look behind me, Deirdre Logue stands with a look of apology on her face.

I imagine a film portrait of a friend. I will photograph only the most typical of his activities. Every day I will shoot him shaving, brushing his teeth, washing his dishes, eating. Using video technology, viewers will be able to swap their face for his, trade clothes, remap genders. In this way, it will become a portrait of everyone who looks. It will be a study of compulsion and repetition, not the highlight reel, but the things we do every day. Our selves.

I don’t see much art anymore, I just don’t have the time. I make appointments with my friends the way galleries book exhibitionsÑmany months in advance. When I make it to a show, I look at everything as quickly as I can and tick it off my list: groceries, keys cut, gallery, call mother. Of all the things on my list, art is the only one that reminds me, constantly, of how little time I have left. So mostly I’ve stopped going. It’s too depressing.

Enlightened Nonsense is one film in ten parts. Or ten films in one part. There is no dividing them now. They have been married, so even as they draw to a close, they get nearer to the place where they will begin again. Somehow this comforts me. I leave the gallery, knowing she is still there, unwrapping and falling, drinking and scratching.

Originally published as: “Monologue of the Body”, Mix Magazine Vol. 26, No. 3 Winter 2000-1