Double Feature: Learning to Read and Pair

7.4 / Moving Target

Double Feature: Learning to Read and Pair

By Jennifer Locke, Trisha Low, Elaine Kahn, Monica Raden, Camille Roy May 12, 2016

Double Feature presents two new collaborative videos between artists and writers: Learning to Read and Pair. That both pieces – which were commissioned independent of one another— are videos, and that both involve dyads and doubling in some manner, was unintentional but remains a happy coincidence. This is also why we’ve decided to present them together.  

In Learning to Read, Jennifer Locke plays a video from a Skype call of Camille Roy reading out loud from a piece she has written and posted on the internet. Locke tries to read along with her, from Roy's voice only. The text piece Roy reads in the video is an excerpt from 'Under Grid: An Obscure Manifesto,' which will be published in the Fall of 2017 in On Contemporary Practice: New Narrative monograph, edited by Rob Halpern and Robin Tremblay-McGaw.

Pair is a collaboration between writers Trisha Low and Elaine Kahn and video artist Monica Raden, with whom Kahn has previously worked.

Both films will be screened at Minnesota Street Project on Saturday, May 14th at 5pm. Please join us if you can. —Brandon Brown and Matt Sussman

Learning to Read

Camille Roy: One thing that draws me to Jennifer Locke’s work is that it doesn't articulate but is still expressive. It's this mute expressiveness of the body that has all these registers (tones?) that come forward when the jibber-jabber stops. Combining that presence with language creates a deformity, one that attracts me. It's sorta like the dynamism of the inert.

Jennifer Locke: Camille Roy is the writer in this collaboration. I will attempt to define the qualities of her work I feel an affinity for with lists. It seems to me that Roy’s work beautifully describes sensation, absence, desire, and memory while exposing her writing’s scaffolding: code, repetition, and clear form. The impossibilities of communicated meaning-making of language, representation, and thought reveal themselves.


When one of these tiny atoms flew into a person’s eye, it stuck there unknown to them, and from that moment they saw everything through a distorted medium. They could see only the worst side of what they looked at, for even the smallest fragment retained the same power which had belonged to the whole mirror. Some few persons even got a fragment of the looking-glass in their hearts, and this was very terrible, for their hearts became cold like a lump of ice. A few of the pieces were so large that they could be used as window-panes; it would have been a sad thing to look at anything through them at all. 


We struck a deal: she’d look away and turn back to think about it before she decided; I knew I’d get her someday. I knew whose side I was on. I knew where my bread was buttered, and which one I would rather be. 

A: When are you going to grow up
B: I don’t believe in killing
A: You’ll learn
B: No I won’t
A: I used to love you
B: What’s changed
A: You
B: You see me, that's all. 
Did I? 


There is an uneasy awareness that this form is not behaving itself.  Behavior and language are unpleasant, repulsive even, and yet nothing in the tension is condemning anyone. No authorial voice is leading us to safety. As the play progresses, a symmetrical unease grows until the scene finally changes.

A geometry begins to fracture. A structure seems to buckle under the weight of the forces it has unleashed. The time frame condenses; a scene that begins in spring ends in summer. The dialogue erodes, becoming sparse. The characters are presented in smaller and smaller fragments. 


That’s horrible,” she said - Any song she sang was a second-by-second lesson in the meaning of mortality.

I like to think that reality runs like a stream, except that time isn’t lin­ear and the nightmare was a synthesis.


  1.  Pair contains massaged appropriations from the following texts: Mercy by Andrea Dworkin, Crave by Sarah Kane (along with David Grieg’s introduction), and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.

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