Horse Players

Total run time: 8:44
Three-channel HD video, stereo, color

Created in collaboration with Theadora Walsh. Horseplayers engages techniques of historical reenactment and the language of professional sports betting to stage a multimedia three-channel performance. Filmed on an abandoned lot where the Narragansett Park racetrack had once stood, three distinct video feeds feature the artists enacting distinct perspectives: the bettors, the horses, and the jockeys. To provide a slippage in time, and highlight the ongoing nature of history, the artists physically hold up screens onto which the video is projected. Uncannily, the artists are visible both as recorded image and live actor. Two layers of embodiment operate in the piece. As the video feeds are projected across the three screens, the performers provide foley-like sound effects for each video location and improvise dialogue using word pattern games inspired by the rules of sports betting.

The content of the piece addresses the underlying misogyny in horse racing, drawing inspiration from Diane Crump—the first female jockey to be allowed to participate in professional horse racing. As all jockeys at Narragansett Park were male, save for Crump, and most, if not all, sports bettors would have been men, the artists’ clear femininity challenges conventional expectations of accuracy and authenticity in historical reenactment. Physical labor also comes into the performance through a gendered lens. To honor the tremendous toll racing takes on the body of horses and jockeys, the artists engage in a test of physical endurance by holding up the video screens throughout the course of the performance. This quiet, unassuming, but extremely challenging act, can be seen as a form of feminine labor.

The full video piece can be viewed online here.