Moving in the distance. Nature, performance and unmapped emotions


study for Requiem for Electronic Moa by John Lyall 2000

‘Distance’ is the relational condition of tension felt in attending to a work, involving the fluctuations of perception and the ambiguous intimations of reality, which create the territory in which special, performative emotional affects can be experienced. Performance is an indirect, relational form, and one in which the unbearable, the unspeakable, the terrifying, as well as the subtle and uncharted can be entertained.

In Requiem for Electronic Moa, the emotions engendered around extinction were of a flatness, of a human fumbling in the dark, and of a disturbing banality attending to extinction. There wasn’t the nobility of the last animal. This felt more like entering the haphazard, unreflective habits or necessities by which an animal or plant is extinguished, in the dark  – and in this, felt closer to what might be the reality.  The disjunction between anticipated emotions, and these feelings of banality created an unexpected and complex emotional charge’.

key words: Ronald Hepburn, Edward Bullough

at Emotional Geographies, Lancaster University 2002