- Chloe Austin
A Lover's Quarrel
A Lover’s Quarrel
coimhlint / conflict
“When we cannot see or listen to anyone but our own selves. A transition from anger to intimacy. Intimacy to anger. It is inescapable.”
We are living in a society where closeness and human contact is no longer permitted. Over the last few months, I had focused on issues surrounding the lack of human contact, mostly due to new technologies – little did we know, how quickly COVID-19 would significantly change the way we interact with the world and with each other.
My mind has shifted. Technology is no longer our biggest threat - actually, quite the opposite. It is keeping us connected in these unprecedented times. I spent some time investigating physical contact through gesture and the effects of the lack of. I began to question metaphorical ways of touch; “I was touched by their stories”. It is important now, to remember the various ways to touch a person through use of language.
'A Lover’s Quarrel' is a series of collaborative works (video, text, sound, photography, performance) addressing concerns around self-reflection, language and relationships. Through performing the body and language, I aim to raise questions of our relationship with the absent other. What is real? What is desired?
I won’t bullshit. It’s been a real struggle to continue producing work and gather my ideas. Especially writing about these ideas. Sometimes, I become too overwhelmed by these ‘light bulb’ moments. There are days where I don’t feel like being creative. My body has no energy, but my mind never stops. Maybe that could be seen as a good thing? For me, it is exhausting. I have the tendency to force it for this reason, which does more damage than good.
During this confinement and isolation, I’m sure we have all had to address thoughts that we have previously pushed out of our minds. This was easy before, we kept busy. The hustle and bustle that is life. It’s not so easy now, not at all.
Personally, I have had a strange few months before this pandemic. “Strange”, to put it lightly. There was a lot of reflection happening, a lot of decisions to be made in my personal life. This is never fun. I felt really lost, helpless. I felt quite trapped before this quarantine began.
One evening, I decided to take a breath. I sat down with my work, looking through my notes and images. This collection of thoughts acted like my personal diary. Have you ever read through a diary and become embarrassed at yourself? This happened to me here. Except this time, it wasn’t an embarrassment I would usually experience. I was embarrassed that I had allowed myself to come to this point. How unkind I have been to myself. I convinced myself that it was better to last than to leave.
'A Lover’s Quarrel' is a collection of my most personal works yet. I am interested in addressing how most of our desires are not based on reality. We spent a significant chunk of our lives focused on the love of the absent. Yes, that is quite dark. But, think about it.
Absence and presence play a huge role throughout my practice. What is absence? Another form of presence? These desires which are not based on reality develop within my writing. As my work is often based on personal and emotional experiences, I attempt to de-personalize this to some extent. I do not wish to expose my own personal life just to create something ‘good’. Introducing some aspects of fiction into my writing raises questions of what is real and what isn’t.
An emerging motivation is to support other artists. I hope to collaborate with other creative minds such as writers, musicians, performers, etc. All work throughout 'A Lover's Quarrel' is collaborative pieces. I feel this is important, more than ever, to stay connected and motivate each other to keep our minds free while our bodies remain confined.
Throughout this series, my main goal is to look at our relationship with desire. “It is my desire I desire, and the loved being is no more than its tool.” (Roland Barthes) This project is still ongoing, new ideas come every day. I will not rush it and I will no longer force it, like I have previously done with most aspects in life.
I want to raise awareness of self-regard and desire within the self. We fear so much of losing the other, we lose ourselves. We can become a divided ‘self’ in this sense, we try to tell ourselves what we need, what we want. We are not aware that we already have what we need. We force ourselves to suffer, desiring the absent other. We don’t need to suffer.
I soothe myself by desiring what, being absent, can no longer harm me. (Barthes)
'Fanacht', Video Still, 2 min