CAN YOU PAUSE THAT FOR A SECOND ... and let yourself groove

Wynne Ryan
It seems like when you pause (a video) you stop participating with it. You disengage, you stop paying attention, you answer the phone, spill(ed) your drink. But I think the opposite. I think the space of a paused video is one of total participation and self-care.

So I could talk about drugs and tattoos and bands and political and social uprising or unrest.  Alcohol and tv and cuts and sores. I could make my case for Montana vs. the city. Whose kids get more out of their drugs? (here we must agree TV is a drug) Whose kids kill themselves better? And is faster really better? Let’s get more out of our cultures!


I’m spitting out these word bones. Stuttering out these quickly glued together phrases and half-thoughts. If you’re a total participator in your own culture and the creation (but it’s more than that: examinating, outlining, redefining, responding, responsing) of a culture, there is no room for jealousy or insecurity or self-doubt. (ie: detrimental sabotage tactics brought by capitalist self-sale.) Ahem, I believe in mass media though. I also believe total participation excludes self-doubt.

MAYBE I’m talking specifically about my own performance w/ video. When I’m on stage as TRACY, I often doubt my relationship to my audience so when I pause my video during a performance I say “What’s up?” I say “What do you want to say to me? What are we doing here? Together.” “What’s happening here? What CAN happen here?” MAYBE I want you to: TAKE IT HOME WITH YOU…

I have an exercise. Put in a videotape and pause it after a couple minutes. Can you remember everything that just happened? Can you guess what’s going to happen next? I’m working on a theory here, a video art theory, let’s see where it goes. (Everything is folding and unfolding in that time/space forever. Look at it!) I’m trying to figure out how to draw a paused video. Because it seems to me you can’t just draw the image on the TV, or even the pixels that make it up, or even the light that’s making up those flickering color shapes, or even the tv console that barely holds up your tv/vcr combo, or even your hand resting lightly by the remote, or even the couch that was your best friend’s before she moved, or even the sounds you hear out the window next to the couch. Maybe it’s because I always want more time. A heartbeat. The moment you could decide to have magenta hair again. The moment you could decide to speak, to care, to believe anita hill even though you’re the only one in your 9th grade class who does. (I have a note here to myself to look at the man who mistook his wife for his hat, chapter “hands”, by oliver sacks and how like a leaf, interviews with donna haraway, the chapter where she talks about diffraction.)

CAN YOU PAUSE THAT FOR A SECOND? Why do I keep doing this? Why do we keep doing this (this band, this video work, this singing job)? I make this happen because there’s a space I’m moving around in. And it’s a hot space, it’s breathing and imagining and producing revolution, culture, passion. It’s the same space as a video paused.  It’s the same space as the spoon suction in the separated peanut butter/oil mix.  These spaces ask us to bring things together for a second.


Remember, people like to go to restaurants and be comfortable.  People like to be jealous (and okay and guilty-different story)  Yeah right, can you…? For a…?

I want to tell her I’m jealous. I want to tell her I’m jealous of her. I’m talking about jealousy here.  Jealousy as totally boring anti-woman feeling. Let’s get it out the door. Let’s put it out. Let’s talk about it.  So can you pause that (hating, second-guessing, doubting, climbing, insecurity) FOR A SECOND? Jealousy is really destructive and totally stuck on rewind or fast forward. It’s perhaps not really even existing because it’s always ending. Heading for the end. Trying to get you to end. Feel like you ever have peanut butter in your head? Maybe this is my own deal, my own thing. Maybe we should talk. (oh right oh right I like myself!)  There’s this space where lil’ kim said “no need to be greedy, I got mad friends that’s pretty.”

I think paused video can be a really important part of video work and production and audience viewing/comprehension which leads to individual action. I’m not talking about a video still. Let’s get that straight. I always thought I was until I found out I wasn’t. There’s a big difference.

Paused video is good for the soul. It’s physical. It’s a participation.  

So is mixing up the peanut butter, but oh wasn’t that the worst? Yeah, it’s messy! That’s right, it’s messy. Feeling disjointed and jealous? You will reduce yourself. Feeling like totally participation? You will reeducate yourself.

Did I get it all? The beginning, the middle and the end? Or did I just wait somewhere in between and talk about the beginning, the middle and the end while buying a new old record, looking through photo albums and calling it a dog/day?

Your turn.