16 October – 13 November 2020
MattFlix presents Tai Shani’s DCX: Sirens (2020).
Filmed during lockdown on the floor of a neighbour's bathroom, this theatrical reading by Maya Lubinsky revisits one of the chapters of Shani's DC: Productions. Originally called Dark Continent, DC: Productions is an epic, episodic project that comprises interconnected yet stand-alone performances, installations and films of experimental narrative texts, all of which form an expanded adaptation of Christine de Pizan’s 1405 proto-feminist text The Book of the City of Ladies.
This chapter is told through Sirens as a rejection of language, its contamination and its willingness to capitulate to systems of untold powers. The Siren sound is equivalent to one Planck time (the indivisible unit, marked by the time required for light to travel). The extracted sound of the still frame: a peculiar O, perpetually reproduced to create a song on the margins of nature. It is the sound of past, present and future all at once.
The Siren is to the sound what the Medusa is to sight. It is the voice of sexualised otherness, an ungovernable disorder that provokes panic and anxiety. Almost deadly, and always liminal.
Sirens: by the graveyard, totally open and brimming.
Silent Screen Sirens: instruments of proximity. They are all song.
Before Sirens were Sirens, they were a group of women gathering flowers. One of them was abducted by Hades to be a bride; another was so distressed over not being able to keep the others safe that she melted into water. The remaining Sirens asked the gods for wings, so that they might search for their abducted friend and share grief through song.
Ovid describes this scene in Metamorphoses:
You should have seen her limbs become slack, the bones pliant, the nails lose their hardness. In cold water, her most tender parts became liquid. First the black hair, then the fingers, the legs, the feet and the transformation of her other delicate limbs. Following these, her shoulders, back, hips and breasts dissolved into small streams. Finally, water entered the place of living blood, her broken veins, until nothing remained to be grasped.