Presenting Our Selves
The shows are cancelled, the nightclubs are closed, and nobody’s buying what we’re selling.
In this intimate video essay created in September 2020, artists and lovers Cade and MacAskill tenderly scrutinise the ways they have used the framing of live performance to discover, embody, and own their shifting identities. Weaving footage from live gigs with holiday snaps from a trip to the Scottish countryside, they contemplate the complexities of queer embodiment in different contexts - musing on looking, seeing, being, and being seen.
Film work created during the 2020 Covid Pandemic. Originally commissioned by The Place for Splayed Festival 2020.
Digital Online screening as part of Splayed Festival 2020 at The Place, London - 16/10/2020 - 14/11/2020
The film was part of a triple bill alongside work by Mele Broomes and Malik Nashad Sharpe & Ellen Furey, and the first screening on October 16th 2020 was followed by a live online discussion on queerness and embodiment with Splayed Festival curator Amy Bell, performance maker Rachael Young and London Contemporary Dance School's Director of Research Dr. Martin Hargreaves.
Screening with Cambridge Junction in February 2021 as part of Queer Valentine’s Day celebrations
Selected for Scottish Queer International Film Festival 2021
Screened 9th October 2021 at CCA, Glasgow
Presented as part of ‘Aspects of the Embodied Self’ programme, followed by an artist talk by Cade & MacAskill with Jamie Rae.
Screening for Performance students at Victorian College of Arts, University of Melbourne June 2021
“The stand-out piece is Cade and MacAskill’s funny, charismatic film Presenting Our Selves. Ivor MacAskill and Rosana Cade use this film to scrutinise the body in the performance space – particularly bodies that are not cis, or present non-normatively, celebrating non-normativity. It cuts between the two performers in their bed in Glasgow, both wearing moustaches, both with silver laptops, and clips from their performances. We miss your flesh, and your smell, and we miss watching you watching us, says MacAskill.
“MacAskill was due to perform fully naked in spring 2020, in a ‘newly masculinised’ form, having had top surgery in 2019. The pandemic, obviously, put paid to that, and MacAskill reflects on the strangeness of being perceived as a heterosexual, “normal” couple, and of engaging with the body not as viewable performer, but as a method for private, personal pleasure (in the example of the film skinny-dipping). The film’s clips from Cade and MacAskill’s live performances as Double Pussy Clit Fuck have an intensely frenetic, joyfully grotesque energy (a response to the ‘beautiful’ drag they found unrepresentative of their selves); the pace of the film itself, however, is measured, sweetly humorous, like a Buster Keaton black-and-white feature. It offers the situation of the pandemic as a moment for reflection, on what performance gives performers, as well as the audience, what we have jointly lost, and what we might also privately gain or recuperate.
“It feels tedious and clichéd to describe queer performance as ‘brave’ – brave for daring to be different, brava! glad it’s you and not me! – and in fact it’s not bravery that strikes me here, but kindness. To explore the self to deeply, to, as Cade and MacAskill have, Present Our Selves, takes a great deal of patience with the viewer; to be humorous, clown lightly with restrained choreographed movements from a plaid bedspread, to talk thoughtfully about being new and unlike, is a kindness granted to the audience."
Ka Bradley for EXEUNT