BURY NELLA (ruby allen) (she/her)
i was there, 1808, but you never saw my face, crawling, i was busy hunting pearls, i kept them close and now they are heavy on my back
the words bury, heal, nella are straddling my back. they have always been there. they are/it is an alias/series of lenses to investigate self, collective, sonic, bodily, ancestral conflictions, phonetically, a re-organisation of my birth name and refer to the division of a body, mind and soul in a condition of or rather as an operative of grief, rest and reversal.
the methodology of jamaican dub/dj-ing (as in to distort, fragment, amplify) has become a tool or way of seeing and layering meaning, both within it’s sonic context as well as outside of it in the ways i have been attempting to shape space… as an approach to the understanding and reclamation of self, identity, ancestry, (imaginings, disruptions, recall and arrival) to slice the notions as well as the realities of self, to marginalise further the sound/experience of marginalisation is perhaps a way to un-marginalise it, to centre it, to hold it, a pre-amplification of that which has always been, to narrow, to echo, to play with the pitch of which things sit, is to re-shape – re-form and re-present, it is to bury parts of something and then it is to heal in it’s form, it might help to understand nella.
the space between bury heal and nella
as a maker entangled in the conditions of my own existence ideas, spaces, works, thoughts are hard to split up. they be and do not because they must and must not. this is sticky and gooey this whole thing. i spoke something into itself. i cut it all up. this thing, this thing was bury heal nella, these things, they are slabs, hard slabs, they contain things, things that weep and shudder. there is text, there is sound, there is physicalness and attempt to dial in to the ancestors, to reproduce their paths of ephemeral connection. this body of work is a bench, things sit, a container, things are held, things wobble, a thing where things will move intra to outra. it will, i will, try to negotiate, to divide, to describe to you, bury heal nella and why they/we are here and that we, i and i be one.
i have broken this work up into the following works: the moving image/the altar, the slabs/ringtones, the text, the costume/it’s a tracksuit but it is all one thing it is the space(s) between bury, heal + nella
the moving image/the altar
viewed as thrown images from two projectors on an intricate screen constructed of suspended vintage fabrics of service (lace tablecloths, doilies), wedding flowers and wire, below it lies objects of a shrine, this moving image work, shot across the C18th pollok house weaves images, shadows, of space, time, a figure dressed in a costume that has no sense of either and an overlay of the images lumetri scope (colour correction graph), adjusted to b and w to create a further shadow, echo of the visual on screen – an amalgamation of distortion and fractures on fractures.
director of photography; billie turnbull
edited by; bury nella
the slabs / ringtones
imagine a space, there are four slabs. the slabs are hard, once they were liquid and now, they are hard. that is important.
the slabs; they are rough/smooth/spoiled/clear/hazy/alive/dead/loud/silent/sitting/watching.
the first slab has a mobile-phone placed carefully into a carved bed. there is some text that keeps the phone in it’s bay company, the text is golden and shiny and tells you how you have arrived to a gateway.
this is the gate to a sonic portal, story, a set of interferences that teleport voice, song, prayers to the spirits.
this is a method of the ancestors.
the other three slabs sit slightly further back, each of them has letters that spell words, the first, bury, the second, heal, the third, nella, the text too, is golden and shiny.
each slab cradles an embedded phone.
. . flash forward…
you open contacts, and call bury, heal and nella.
the phones are ringing…
ringtones cry out.
bury, heal and nella release a series of audible aches, cries, whispers, song, joy, pain, suspension.
these sounds, like their maker, have been stretched, flooded, filled, torn, buried, and erased through realms of water, wind, metal, public, private, struggle, joy, resistance, submission, erasure and release.
these sounds are amplified through these hard, once liquid slabs.
they bare witness to the following: grief, noise, ghosts, interference, abjection, pain, healing, relief, release, erasure, resistance, power, tension, liminality, land, ocean, myth, fact, knowledge, unknowability, re-memory, memorialisation, inbetweenliness
designed to mimic emergency signs/film credits/to glow in the dark dark – these are the instructions and some smidges of detail for the installation
the costume/it’s a tracksuit
the words bury, heal, nella are straddling my back
if there was ever anything pinning this all together, it was a tracksuit. in the space it may be worn, if not not, it’s on the screen on a body rolling, walking, slipping through time and space on site at pollok house. overtime, it has been stitched with mother of pearl buttons that form symbols drawing on iconography of ancient kongo/central african altars, english medieval churches, playful double entendres and original symbol language. referencing the pearly kings and queens of east london (where i was born but am not bred) takes the shape of stake and space reclamation, place making, identity. an attempt to make an incision in time, a reference to the invisibility of blackness in the victorian landscape, playing on temporality, it is, i am, we are, in a time warp.