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Sharon Hayes

'Ricerche: three'


11 – 31 May 2020

This month, we are delighted to announce the online screening of a film by Sharon Hayes, whose project we were due to present for this year’s Glasgow International, now postponed to 2021. The first in a suite of works, 'Ricerche: three' (2013), is now available for viewing at thecommonguild.org.uk from today until 31 May.

Viewing Sharon Hayes’ 'Ricerche: three' in what is now the second month of confinement, is to experience the impossible, taboo even. Filmed in 2013 with students from Mount Holyoke women’s college in Massachusetts, 'Ricerche: three' shows us the prolonged and intimate sharing of public space with a group of other people. This simple representation of keeping company with others is all the more exuberant watched from the confines of our temporarily (and necessarily) abandoned public sphere.

Buzzing with dialogue, chatter and the joy of animated discourse 'Ricerche: three' offers liveness and interaction. Real physical embraces, gesticulations of emotion, expressions of disagreement, laughter and the pleasure of talk ring out, even during the film's imposed silences. Whilst we are unable to experience crowds and participate in the immediacy of debate, Hayes’ film is an invitation to gather together, to listen and to exchange values.

'Ricerche: three' is in fact the first in a long-term and currently ongoing investigative film series observing attitudes around sex, relationships, gender and nationhood in contemporary American society. The word ‘ricerche’ - Italian for research - is borrowed, along with Hayes’ frank methodological enquiry, from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1964 film ‘Comizi d’amore’, a documentary investigation into the sexual attitudes of Italians during the 1960s.

Following Pasolini, the conversation staged and structured by Hayes draws its international participants, who identify across a wide gender spectrum, into dialogues centring around queer and feminist politics, self-definition, the importance of sexual and gender identity, and the influence of culture and religion on sexual, political and ideological freedoms. Through Hayes’ open questioning, a politics of the personal, social and communal emerges, giving voice to the schisms in operation within the private, self-selecting community of the university and public life beyond this space.

The film demonstrates the often difficult nature of expression, of forming an opinion, holding firm beliefs, and maintaining a political position. It reminds us that the kinds of closeness and proximity with others encouraged by university education breeds astute, reflective and engaged individuals which in turn develops networks of ideas; something that cannot be replicated so well through distanced learning.

To watch 'Ricerche: three' is to witness collective thinking in action: urgent, impassioned, messy talk articulated in real time. Spending time with these students as they establish antagonistic consensus and form a disparate collective identity is to participate in a shared experience that invokes the observer to take part, respond, and to shape change.

We are grateful to Sharon Hayes and Tanya Leighton, Berlin for allowing us to share this film.

'Ricerche: three', 2013
Single Channel HD Video (Colour, Sound) 38 minutes

Participants: Aderike Ajao, Zehra Ali Khan, Sara Amjad, Eirie Blair, Emma Boisselle, Eoin Bradley, Lisa Brea, Jasmine Brown, Octavia Cephas, Miran Chowdhury, Julia Corsetti, Jenny Daniels, Laura Donovan, Lyla Eaton, Caden Friedenbach, Tess Guilfoile, Keenan Hale, Liz Honorato, Pavel Lopez, Laakan McHardy, Alexandra Menter, Michelle Olguin, Tejumolu Onabajo, Jessica Ortiz, Jinyoung Park, Yesenia Parra, Anarkalee Perera, Shelley Picot, Karishma Reddy Khan, Naomi Rodri, Liz Sandman, Alyssa Simari, Poorna Swami, Suleidys Tellez, Caitlin Utter, Summer Yun Zhou

Production Credits:
Director: Brooke O’Harra
Director of Photography: Michelle Lawler
Cameras: Mike Crane, James Kienitz Wilkins, Lucretia Knapp, Nathan McGarigal Sound Recorder: EE Miller
Sound Mix: Josh Allen
Production Managers: Amber Bemak, Karishma Reddy Khan
Original Exhibition Design: Nanna Wülfing

Image: Sharon Hayes ‘Ricerche: three’ (2013)
Single channel HD video, 38 minutes
Participants: Jasmine Brown, Laakan McHardy, Paola Lopez, Anarkalee Perera, Zehra Ali Khan, Sara Amjad
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Roundtable Conversation: Mathew Parkin & Mason Leaver-Yap, 'Meet Me at The Vintners'