I Don’t Want You to Work as Me

Emma Hedditch


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Performance, video scripts, and other writings, 2008 – 2015

1. A Pattern, video script 2014

2.  We Are The Signs And The Signal, performance script, Make Out exhibition, Stockholm, 2008

3. All Lives Liveable, As Speculations, Community Without Propinquity, catalogue text, Milton Keynes Gallery, UK, 2011 and vitrine display text, Art Gallery York University, Toronto, 2012

4. We Had One Rehearsal, performance script, with Discoteca Flaming Star, Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe, 2008

5. From Vertical To Horizontal, performance script, The Archeology Of Longing, Musee De Montmartre, September 2008

6. Black Marker Held Tightly, performance script, Art In General, NY, in collaboration with MPA, 2009

7. Please Could You Say What Is Violent About This? performance script, Munich Art Academy, 2013

8. A Fight Against Isolation,
A Change, performance script, Goloss, Copenhagen, 2012

9. Bulk Purchases, performance script with Elizabeth Orr, Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Boston, 2014

10. You Cannot You, performance script, Antiknow, an exhibition by Jakob Jakobsen, Flat time house, London, 2013

11. Can Teachers Be Friends? previously published in Anarchic sexual desires of plain unmarried schoolteachers, edited by Chris McCormack, 2015

With thanks to Zoe Leonard and Elizabeth Orr, 2016

1. Out of control

There are all of the particular

technologies, materials and productions at work here

It is manifested partially and still largely improvised

Things are added, on some surfaces, as possibilities, on buildings, in laws

In fits and starts, through interference and interruption, over time, remainders

We looked for made things, we looked at what we had and we put some things together and they worked, sometimes


The way forms fall on a body

Join together imaginaries and materialities, the ordering of things in relation to one another

A figuration of how things are made, and a resource for their unmaking

A practice built into this or that material, that is continuously rethought and proposed, whilst continually used

Partially shared imaginaries, where not one function or use is settled

Thoughts about what to wear, what would people want to wear

Reliant on the signification of certain cuts, cloths, trims, and somewhat against the body

Cloth, cover, collaboration

Clothing, a sign, you decide what I wear, what I am wearing, I present myself that way

The cloth always has something under it

It doesn’t need to be totally perfect, or clean

The cloth over and under, the cloths, for you and within the purpose, as the things contained in the idea of it

Not open or lifted up, taken off but next to each other

Radical juxtapositions, make for an interesting gender presentation

Molecular, make up

Which actually effect each other

Worn outside stupidly, bravely, boldly

We are stupid, I thought

A thought that culminated in your comment on what constitutes as profanity or transgression

What to put here, in this space?

I would never wear that

A cloth or clothing a material covering, an invitation and escape into this place, a place of force and purpose and troubling towards

Troubling along as it goes, it moves, things move with it

They are moving it

Repeating, claims, a form, of a few things that you like

Repeating handling, unaware of regulation

Handling for a second, romantic and leaving imagined

There is no connection

Break it up

Event tear, event rip, every rip or tear, another experiment with what certain materials can do

Not any useless use for imaginative, or imaginary it is not even totally dispensable, and still under covers

It’s so hard to find ways to dispose of things carefully, and responsibly, it takes time, something comes up

You learn about the materials, you learn what they do, and you learn how long it takes to make the thing you want and learn how different things when placed next to each other, effect each other, beat at each other, cover, cover cover

Make resonate, be resonant

As some limits on imagining

Would they have done this in another time, if doing it would have made them, lose their jobs

Another site of production

Who cares about zoning, who cares about organising?

There was an Apple screen and a Nokia screen

Against the frame, but still part of the ideology

As the thermostat, you mentioned as the first self-regulating system, a camera which takes information through an incredibly sophisticated sensor and translates this information, normalises it to something so complex and other to whatever you placed in front of the capturing device

Already colonised, the forms foam, more than physical, what they say as de-linked, not only critiqued, actually detaching from, spending time with another totally different, market

Where are the computers stored, and protected?

They are all different, and they are non-standard formats, they are all different and put together differently

They don’t read about the history of cinema

But they are related in proximity, fixed to buildings that were cinemas

2. Who allows themselves, affords themselves, the possibility of risk, puts themselves at stake, who overcomes fears, acts on thinking, without thinking, sees thinking as acting, who can

Who speaks loudly into the microphone at the conference, takes her shirt off in the nightclub, takes off her panties on stage, who asks you to look after their child for 20 minutes, who goes out to make a film when it’s minus fifteen degrees, who survived a stomach virus, who fought for contraception rights, homosexuals and anarchism in the late 18 hundreds, who cooks for many people without really planning it, fasts for 6 days, refuses to get out of bed, spend money, work, communicate, refuses to become part of any group or ideology

Who gets fisted in the toilet at the nightclub, bases their entire look on David Hockney, who is willing to share the problematic reading of an image, who refuses to look the way people think they should, refuses to leave, to pay, leave without being paid, get paid, to go.

We I do mean us, have been experiencing great transformations

3. All Lives Liveable, As Speculations

Where do you buy good vegetables?

How do you work out how to communicate with each other?

What can be built?

Who will you meet there, push up against, work with, serve, be served by?

How will you meet there?

Because of vulnerability and desire?Where is the doctor, how much should we pay for one?

If she is sick then I will treat her

If she is sick and has health insurance then I will treat her

Where should we go out at night?

How will I get home later?

Where are the cruising areas, and the queers?

Who lives near there, near enough to have encounters, and to share a life?

Some people chose a place for its proximity to another, or that it is possible to commute there

What happens when you leave the place where you were born, if you had an attachment to that place?

What happens if you don’t consider yourself as having been born in a place, or having come from somewhere?

What happens if you live somewhere for most of your childhood and then decide to leave, to get a job, go to university, or escape persecution?

What happens if you stay in the same place your whole life, if you never leave, you never want to leave, you never even think about leaving?

What happens if you are forced to leave, or you leave without really thinking it through?

What if it wasn’t so much a decision as a means of survival, or it was out of practical necessity that you left, or you didn’t really think about it as leaving – it didn’t ever feel like you arrived – or you just never thought about it in that way

What happens if it is just what you do, it is cultural to stay somewhere or just move around, it’s all you know, it’s what your parents did, or you read about it in a magazine or a novel

Is living just a practical solution?

It doesn’t signify anything

Culturally it can mean that you are forming an exclusive bond with this or that person

So much emphasis is placed on how precious this space of living should be and how to chose who to live with, and how to live

Does it even make sense to try so hard?

The model of the couple, or nuclear family appears to rule out the possibilities for sharing life, for sharing laundry, cooking, child-care, cleaning and care work

Is sharing life a big commitment?

We are already sharing it

What happens when we are close, when we live near to each other, or together?

What happens when someone comes to live or stay with you?

When a friend gets sick and you decide to try to help them, you try to stay around because you want to be available

What happens when you have new neighbours and they make a lot of noise and you find it hard to work at home as you used to, or suddenly you feel nervous about being in the apartment because one of your neighbours acts aggressively?

What happens if you don’t know your neighbours and you just decided to live somewhere because it was cheap, or free, or a friend said you could stay there for a while

What kind of place does this produce?

What happens when suddenly your whole building is threatened with eviction and you and your neighbours have to decide if you will fight or not

What happens when your roommate starts bringing home people that you don’t know, and you start bringing people home, and they stay a lot and then you don’t know if you should ask them not to stay so much?

What happens when you want to stay somewhere, but the person you are staying with doesn’t want you to stay?

How many people came and how many people left?

How many people does it need?

Sharing a place to live, felt like a big decision, something to take great care over, as if you could control certain things if you took great care, and were very specific and you made certain agreements together

What happens if you leave the place you decided to go to – the place you thought would be better than the last place, and for different reasons – you then decide to leave

How much can really be decided about where to live, and who gets to have those kinds of choices and who doesn’t?

Does spatiality direct the kind of relations, and if they are functional relations?

I don’t know what functional is

When you start to be more conscious of ideas about belonging, leaving and arriving, how does that affect your experiences?

What if you hardly notice, you hardly go outside anyway, and it doesn’t really matter where you are

What if there are huge climatic differences between the place you lived and the place you are now living, and it’s really hard to keep cool or warm

It’s just really different socially because you are used to everyone being outside and on the streets – or you are shy and the social life is too overwhelming

What if you were used to being able to walk home alone late at night and now you don’t really feel safe, or if you never did that, but it would be safe to do that now and you are missing out on this whole experience

How does reading live blogs on the Guardian website about riots and uprisings in a number of cities and towns and the occupation’s all over the world influence your understanding of what is going on elsewhere and help you understand what is going on locally?

What is it on the screen that is holding my attention?

I watched as riots unravelled in London

I watched one or two scenes playing as a loop for several days, whilst sitting in my friends apartment

Occasionally I would get up and look out of the window, and was surprised to see everything was as always – people were walking around outside

There are other stories that are not making the news, for different political reasons, there is censorship, nobody had a camera, or the footage was not deemed good enough to be broadcast, or there is fear of what an allegiance with a certain position might mean ,how it might implicate the broadcaster

It might be difficult to understand the intricacies of the local situation, and this

might put you off showing support, or offering a critique

You might not even know that a specific news channel exists, or be able to get that channel in the place you live or are staying

The local has become the bastion of the conservative right in northern Europe

The farmers market is confusing

Belonging is complexed, and different for different persons, since not all are welcomed and not all arrive and not all want to belong

All must have belonging if they want it, but belonging should not feel like the only way to be functional or have agency, it is not

Why do I always go there, and you refuse to come here?

Proximity is equated with intimacy and distance is not

What does this appearing together mean, and in this specific place that can welcome you, that can afford you and accommodate you?

What if you don’t want to travel, but it feels like you have to in order to participate or show your commitment to something, what if you are unable to travel, because of visa issues or health or money?

Who moves around the city and at what time of day?

Who has access to the social life of the city based on their physical ability or having time to explore alone or otherwise?

You can email people and talk online, and you can write and this can be very productive too. It also means you don’t have to leave daily life, you can still sleep in your own bed and see your friends and eat at home, go to local meetings and support your friends and community

But what if you want to leave, what if leaving relieves you of a weight of daily life, and helps to think of things other than, who will take care of your child, how much rent you owe or the laundry

Why would daily life be a burden?

I think it depends on how much reproductive work you do

Predicting and planning the future and figuring out how to manage the household, how to prepare for the coming week, thinking about what is available and what is not.

What if something happens to us without being able to prepare?

You present us with other people’s politics, which seems to separate us from our practice together

You don’t acknowledge you or me as something you are talking about- something that relates to something that I could do – you don’t acknowledge me or yourself in it, you don’t see you and me as part of it

Maybe half-way through saying it you realise that this could relate to me, but you don’t say anything, in that way you keep me in a specific place.

4. We had one rehearsal

I had no idea what was happening

I had an organ

3. From Vertical To Horizontal

How can, could we make this work?

Work is the wrong word

We are treating each other with care, curiosity and a willingness to share and support each other, in a time, in time

We had the feeling that we didn’t have so much time and resources

But we do have time, time is so generous, it is multiplying

We can make time for things as we unmake time, cut things short or stay longer, deciding when to stop and when to start

We have resources, we have enough resources, we do have enough

We have enough money and resources

Is it irresponsible to act like you don’t have enough money and resources when you do?

Is it irresponsible to not try to get money, to not make plans?

Time is available, we are available in time, for better relations, support, working, friendship, understanding, waiting

Last time

In the past over one month ago I decided that I would like to try to cover two big windows in an exhibition space

I am often covering windows in an apartment

In the past months I have tried to change

I have done things without curtains, or cloths on the window

I have thought about how I am perpetuating the privatisation of desires

What happens when we don’t try to make things public because we assume that they will not be accepted

How to explain and be held accountable and responsible over time

Who is interested?

I wanted to cover the windows on the night of the opening of the exhibition

This would also serve as a practical solution to the problem of natural light from the window. It would help to be able to see video projections and monitors that were part of the exhibition

We took fabrics from your storage unit, fabrics that you had collected over the years. I felt some guilt about taking your time and going to the storage unit that day, and borrowing these things

It was hard to know who would be there and what the situation would be like

We brought the fabrics and left them there in a pile, in preparation

I decided to start working with the curtain alone in the beginning and slowly ask people who were close by to help me. Initially two women, strangers helped a lot, and made a lot of decisions about how to go on

Slowly others came, friends, and still more strangers

The space was hot and grew hotter, and darker, slowly. Eventually the windows were covered, not solidly but for some time darkened at least

After working on covering the windows I took a microphone attached to a PA system, I asked someone to pass the microphone out of the window, down to the street, I would go outside and I would read something, and that something would be amplified into the space of the exhibition so that people could hear what I had written

Here again, here we are, at this other time

It is important that I tell you about the previous time, since this time is connected to that previous time. I don’t know if I will hang sheets on the window here, I don’t know if I can

When you showed me the pictures of the Museum all of the shutters were closed, so perhaps I don’t need to cover the windows

We had talked about the garden, reading in the garden and the sheets being on the windows and then transferring them to the floor, for people to sit on

But we don’t know, we don’t know yet if it will be cold or wet, or how many people will be there. When should we decide?

If the shutters are closed I thought it could still be good to hold the sheets up. Since it is not only this gesture of covering the windows, but it is the shift from vertical to horizontal, a shift in planes of perception, like laying down or standing

Taking something from one place to another, from the bed to the Museum for example

We have talked about longing, longing as something that distracts from the present, it produces desires beyond our reach, beyond possible satisfaction, a search for solutions, not the presence of trying to work with the given situation, without solution, only new situations

6. I want our being near to constitute an association, a representation of my identification with you and them, but not to be seen as a static set of relations

It should look like it can be approached

It is taking this risk and feeling this possibility and sharing this possibility, not only keeping it within the confines of me to you, but actively distributing it, assuming that others will, and can take it, they can take it, do not protect them, there is no reason to protect anybody

I want our being seen to be near to each other to be generative, and to show an alignment with you, but not being in one place over another, not affecting people and things adversely but accepting that sometimes it does

I want it to look strange, to allow for a questioning of all previous norms, tastes, prejudice and attractions

It should never come together, and always be broken

How could we ensure this, and how do we know what is not reassuring?

It is the acceptance and recognition our social relations that we are talking about, it is not this or that person, but the possibility to find something with persons – an encounter in which we acknowledge our different positions and dispositions

This is not based on the typical relations of capitalism, where loneliness is extended unnecessarily – produced from fear and projection of fears

7. Please could you say what was frightening or violent about this?

Do you mean it was hard to relate to, or that there was something contained between us that concerned you, or that in relation to the context and what had come before?

8. The boss is always looking at the expressions on people’s faces

Remove one kind of pleasure and replace with another

I refuse to prove myself

Who knows what will happen today?

What happens when we don’t have this to rely on

You go crazy

But can you trust your own stories

I feel like I am giving evidence in a frame I don’t understand

The subject appears in the scene that is presented

I can say things because I am hidden

9. We just don’t really want what the other wants

Its taken me a few days to get back to you

Do you want to get paid?

I want to work for you

I want to encourage something sensitive and uneventful – that is fulfilling

I have been travelling a lot

I want to leave

I want to rule

I have a lot of pent up idealism

I want you to get specific, not so allusive here

Anyone might want that

10. Each person describes their experience of using a camera

The first talks about being nervous and worried that when they use the camera it won’t work, that it will not record, that the light or the sound will be bad

They talk about making things and having a camera but with the technical difficulty

The next talks about enjoying time, a lot of time and drifting into making, being alone and making video images and forgetting how long they have been recording, just following and framing and moving through space. They speak nervously about being on a boat and recording and enjoying that experience

One says he hates the camera, he wants to be followed and surveyed but not thinking about the technical aspects, he says he hates it, to have to think about it

As one of them is speaking she makes shapes with her hands that look like she is holding a camera, but actually also defining more the shape that the camera is, like an object in front of her, she talks about the details of holding the camera, and making videos

One talks about working with a camera as a responsibility, as a job almost, in a professional sense that you are expected to capture something, and a lot can happen in this moment, a lot can go wrong

He describes visiting his Grandmother who is sick and deciding that he shouldn’t bring his camera, that he would use it as a distraction, as a distancing tool to experiencing contact with the grandmother

One talks about bringing the camera, but not being careful with the image they produce, and wanting to be more careful

One goes back to talking about some sort of empty space, or frame which is set, a way of doing things that is already a formula and that has to be filled, she looked so sad before, and that she didn’t want to talk at all, but when she talked she smiled a lot and moved forward on the edge of the chair

One person talks about not being skilled and seeing others who have more skills with the camera

She holds her hand in front like she is operating the zoom function pressing buttons back and forth

One talked about videoing concerts and music shows, arriving with a small camera and being questioned by the people on the door, that she didn’t look like a professional photographer

Later she talked about the light from other cameras that helped her to light her images

You cannot you, before you want to, with different materials that tell different things, when you make some things differently, things emerge

Make resonate, be resonant

Even though the situation feels a little uncertain and I am not sure where to start, and if it’s appropriate to the situation, or what was proposed, and then not even sure that doing what you think you should is ok

Feeling, moving like resonance of sitting here or standing there and this person and this person and this table

Already colonised, the forms foam, more than physical,

Opening, opening, opening, opening, opening

Incapable of context, the frozen-frame, beyond intention

Out of control, not assigned, gender non-conforming, person to talk to, to mark to, calls up, calls out and down, into the below, with a deep consideration not excellence, or enlightened just dropping down a few levels

Not natural, never

Not protecting, but allowing absorbing down through a kind of material that soaks, absorbs onto the surface of some form or another, that changes the material holds the cloth with the material that is soaking

There is no connection from it and you, all connections are broken, the necessary escape

Event tear, event rip, not only to anticipate that de-linking is somehow an attack on beautiful forms, of people, the congratulations or stature or complicity, that work, the work of daring and disappearing

Every, rip or tear, another experiment with what certain materials can do

What you watch or what you do

If you feel something else, you have to get out, you have to leave, leave, let’s leave now

I had to get out of there

A cloth or clothing a material covering, an invitation and escape into this place, a place of force and purpose and troubling towards, troubling along as it goes, it moves, things move with it

What is terrible about this, repeating, claims, claim a hand in the field that takes that form, a form of a few things Repeating handing, unaware of regulation, handling for a second, romantic and leaving imagined, thought of as incapable of self-regulations

Out of control

The image description recognition and our purposefulness

Not being one place or another, leaving, that defies previous understanding, and question, inclusion, attraction

Not immediately recognised by one demographic this is temporal but not a test

It is the death that keeps alive, imagination that we are talking about.

Not this or that person, but encountering possible histories and capacity in the present

Changes something in our being seen together, under an event sound sense of them, and the self-generated audiences/utterances.

Small words,

and, of, the, a, it, if

We will somehow humanise the positions into which we are assimilated, and occasionally make androgynous purchases

11. Can teachers be friends?

Are you serious? you are standing up talking about something, something very interesting and very well researched, and you are doing it in a way that is very impressive, you are not faltering, your voice is working, you have the attention of the audience

You have been asked to do this, you have been paid a lump sum to do this, which may or may not cover the costs of the actual labor involved, but it feels like a lot, and it’s hard to quantify how much work you do anyhow

You traveled to be here, you left your life behind, you came to stay here for a period of time, you found someone to look after your child, to cover your teaching job, to rent your apartment. There are people here that admire you, they have taken time out of their busy schedule to be here, and they have actually fought to be here, there was a waiting list

You came at the right time, you deliver your words in a way that is both gentle and assertive

You make random and poetic incidents seem like facts, and your way of juxtaposing thoughts and images add up to something that feels factual, and real, even though these propositions are ridiculous. At one point you ask someone to take their bag off a table, it’s not your space, nor is it your place to say this, but you do, it’s a way of asserting power, and it shows how sensitive you are to the setting.

Now some people are afraid that there are other things that they are doing that could annoy you, you have made us afraid of you

You on the other hand are smart, you walk around in the sun, you see your friends, you spend time at home, you have a day job which brings your basic income

You don’t really leave the city, you eat and you cook at home regularly. You rarely sit down and commit anything to paper, because you are not egotistical enough to think that anyone would read it or be interested. You don’t think about your opinion or how it will shape anything, you think that the channels that are most available for presentation are already so compromised that speaking inside or from them is just adding to their cultural value and not able to really transform or touch anything of significance

You also have a hard time formulating thoughts into sentences that will make sense to other people, and it’s too time consuming to do so. You think it’s better to talk to people, your friends, or make friends and think about how to improve those relationships. You don’t believe in recording these conversations either, because you think the act of recording changes what will be said, as if there is some sort of sealed space where authenticity can happen

When somebody asks you what it is that you do, you say several different things depending on who you are talking to. This casual attitude is very attractive to some of the students, you spend time together outside of class, you drink beer together, and continue your conversations beyond the allotted time, you are relaxed about how people are in the class, but it ends up being the people you favour who are most comfortable there

Emma Hedditch (born 1972, UK) is an artist and writer based in New York. Her work focuses on daily practice, materiality, and distribution of knowledge as political action. She often works collaboratively with other artists and groups, for example The Copenhagen Free University (2001–2008) and Cinenova, a feminist film and video distributor (1999–present). Heavily influenced by politicized conceptual art practices, de-colonising and feminist politics, her work has taken form as performances, collectively produced videos, fanzines, as well as workshops, screenings, and events. Emma Hedditch was artist in residence for performance at the Munich Art Academy in 2013/14 and has taught in the class ‘Walls and Space’ at the Copenhagen Art Academy since 2005.