The Anxious Mansion
About the Project
A bedroom broadcast of music, movement and shadow puppetry, composed and collected over the Covid-19 lockdown.
Face masks. Rubber gloves. Government announcements. Zoom meetings. Loneliness. ‘The Anxious Mansion’ attempts a kind of alchemy on these materials, transforming them into something new.
At the beginning of lockdown, I roamed deserted islands and post-apocalyptic nightclubs, thanks to computer games like ‘Dear Esther’, and Lawrence Lek’s ‘Temple OST’ music videos. I wanted to travel – and take the audience with me – from within my own bedroom. I didn’t really have much other choice. So, I looked to the items I had around me (face masks, rubber gloves, government announcements, Zoom meetings, loneliness), and started working with them.
The work builds on my interest in blurring the distinction between music, theatre and dance. It’s simpler for me to describe this event as a gig, but that would overlook the story-telling and narrative, the slight movements of my body and choreography of the camera. In this work, I’m treating Zoom as a creative tool, as much as I would Ableton, or my own voice.
Working, composing, broadcasting, all from within my own home, I was reminded of Hugh Hefner (of all people). In ‘Learning From The Virus’, an article written at the beginning of lockdown by Paul B. Preciado, they observe: “Hefner directed and produced the largest-circulation men’s magazine in the United States without leaving the house, often without leaving his bed. Connected to a telephone, a radio, a stereo, and a video camera, Hefner’s bed was a genuine multimedia production platform.”
This is not an attempt to emulate Hefner’s empire but an acknowledgement that, decades later, like it or not, I live in one of many ‘tele-republics’ that now dot the globe. I want to make the borders of mine more porous. To let the outside world in…
The Anxious Mansion will include creative captions and embedded audio-description. All ON THE AiR events use a Relaxed format and will include BSL interpretation.
About the Artist
Gareth Cutter is a 32 year old cis man, born in Shropshire and based in London. He has been making work professionally as an artist since 2012.
Cutter translates the voice and body’s textures and sensations through sound; writing lyrics and narratives that challenge squeamish and censorious attitudes towards the body. He approaches it in a casual, conversational way as part of his everyday existence, finding this honesty and transparency conducive to building stronger relationships both personally and professionally.
His work is seen in many different contexts: music, cabaret, contemporary theatre, live art and dance and has been supported by many different organisations including Pacitti Company, Metal, Unlimited, British Council and Arts Council England.
“My work is sensuous, erotic and casual. I like to imagine it functioning as a kind of ‘poppers’ (a slang term given broadly to alkyl nitrites that are inhaled in the gay / clubbing communities); stimulating blood flow, relaxing muscles, easing difficult ideas into constricted spaces.
As an artist living with HIV, a chronic and stigmatised illness, I’m concerned with challenging the blind spots and aversions mainstream society has around our bodies, and the way it imposes certain ‘acceptable’ norms on bodies that don’t conform to the status quo.”
Explore previous work by Gareth Cutter
VIDEO AND AUDIO
CUTTER // NASH – a collaboration with Gemma Nash from 2018
Corner of the Map (Remix) – An experiment in moving image and composition from 2020
Come Closer trailer – A theatre performance from 2019
Uses of Enchantment – A drag cabaret fairy-tale from 2013