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photo of Tom Shakespeare sitting naked on the chest of a woman in

The Nightmare by Tom Shakespeare

A few Objects of Curiosity and Desire

There was plenty of opportunity to explore the human body, its quirks and fascinations in this joint exhibition at the Bluecoat in Liverpool on the first Saturday of Dadafest International 2010 – and not all of it was formally exhibited!

It was a myriad of shapes and colours, Men in Black sunglasses, scarves, Nepalese hats, boots and multi- coloured fingerless gloves for there was a bite in the air that day. I found myself alone in the top gallery where three large pictures by Tom Shakespeare leapt off the wall, Harry Potter fashion, and started to speak to me. And their thoughts shocked.

From the ‘The Nightmare’ which awakens all those half forgotten dreams which play out our subconscious fears, the ‘Dead Christ’ that challenges you to think in whose image of man are humans cast, to the ‘Vulnerability of Embodiment’ – a purple Pope framed by two side of meat, hung slaughter house fashion above his head, they will all speak to you. Go and see….

In the Hub below are a series of cuboid lightboxes created by Tanaye Raabe called ‘Evolve’. But they can also be revolved - and I watched with interest as party of Chinese people tentatively, and then enthusiastically spun the combinations.

And behind this sits several monitors showing curious little animations of sexless grey/white bodies. ‘Motion Disabled’ by Simon McKeown is described as ‘integrating motion capture and 3D animation, highlighting the intricacies and uniqueness of individuals’ physicality.’

As I had just come from a two hour yoga session where I had been bent over backwards, upside down, and stretched through a demanding series of exercises, these little creatures fascinated me. You could see every articulation of their joints and how a weakness in one area is compensated by distortions in other parts of the body.

As the little Motion Man floated above a white landscape walking with crutches or propelling a wheelchair, striding across a room or scratching his back it was incongruous to see real people around me doing exactly the same. Did they really know what they doing to themselves? I wonder…