Taey Iohe

A Great Circle With no Rim 

A great circle with no rim, film, 6 min 12 sec, 2021

︎︎︎ Watch the film here in A Viewing Room, online exhibitiion at KCCUK, 4-10 May 2021

I thought I should get over it.
When someone spat on my face while I was waiting for a green light, on my bike, when a group of teenagers threw sticks at my wheels so that I fell, when some random person insulted me and my baby on the bus, when someone whispers swear words behind my back at the park, when someone rolls their eyes in the supermarket.

(excerpt from the film)

I feared running all my life: anxiety over breathlessness, body shame, and an internalised endurance against discrimination and racism formed over many years as a large Asian queer woman. As I discover the space of running, I also question who owns the public realm, the outdoor space. 

While I was recovering from Covid, I ran multiple circles in my small garden; circling was literally an entranced movement. I borrowed the title from Denise Riley’s expression. After her adult son’s death, she wrote about this time of deep sorrow as ‘a great circle with no rim’. The image stuck with me; a fathomless sense of loss being repeated without end. She also refers to how we live this time without flow, as if ruptured. We all experience jump-cut, elastic, and prolonged senses of time during the lockdown.

The nature of running is similar to the nature of time: repetitive, enduring, in some ways tedious and boring, durational and fluctuant.

Writing for me feels like taking off a pair of tight shoes. It connects to a pre-reflective, naked thinking process - before any visual intervention comes in. I wanted to go back to the moments before I ran, and re-imagine my feeling of reluctance. Writing is an intimate process; this becomes gradually a more confident and public practice as the film progresses. Unlike typing, the pen creates immediate translation from an image in mind to the paper. Facing white empty paper is always slightly intimidating. Where do I start, how do I begin? Writing is a physical habit; it takes stamina to carry on writing.

Running requires mental persistence to step forward and claim the space. I aimed to evoke and explore the treacherous terrain between a personal moment of creative exploration and engagement with public, contested space. I wanted to create a language to allow these persistences to speak to each other.

- from the artist’s note

︎︎︎ Read on curatorial critique by Annie Jael Kwan

︎︎︎ Read on Running across urgent terrains by Gudrun Filipska (external link)