A projected silent image of the artist’s thinking face is accompanied by his live commentary, in which he attempts to describe what he remembers having thought about while he shot the video footage. The ensuing live work presents an unfolding narrative of the artist’s thoughts on a series of topics – happiness, the future, goodbyes, endings. Words & Pictures takes its cue from Down Time – an earlier work existing as a short performance and a single-channel video – and continues its exploration of memory, the play between real and recorded time and the process of translating thought into language.
Etchells sits at a chair and table, facing his own pre-recorded image in which each smile, blink, furrowed brow, look to or away from the camera is potentially the index of the thought process which he attempts to reconstruct. The inherently impossible task of reading, conjecture and remembering creates an intriguing dynamic and the congruity/incongruity of video image and spoken text provides a hook for a fragmentary and elliptical approach to confessional storytelling.