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Hilary Lloyd
In one of Hilary Lloyd's first videos, Say Directly What You Want (1993), a group of clubbers dance in front of her camera, dressed in Katharine Hamnett T-Shirts with logos proclaiming "Save the World" and "Stay Alive in 85".

Dancing to songs such as Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", the static camera records the clubbers repetitious movements, from groups of self-conscious, boisterous men, to a man and woman who ignore the camera as they go through a practised routine of flirtatious dancing. Overexposed, and shot using coloured lighting, Lloyd recreates the look of early i-D fashion shots, a quotation that echoes the appropriation of her subjects - clubbers from an eighties revival club night. Lloyd's video is not an ethnographic study of a subcultural group, or a portrait of the people who perform before her lens, as we know little more about her subjects at the end of the video than at the beginning. The one figure who refuses to dance and instead sits, smoking, laughing and periodically smouldering into the camera, evokes the ghost of that constant voyeur of cool kids, superstars and freaks: Andy Warhol. Lloyd's vision shares similarities with Warhol's early films, his combination of mechanistic structure and ambiguous eroticism recurring across her works. The artist's presence within her work is difficult to describe: absent in terms of biographical content and explicit personal engagement with her subjects, whilst being constantly felt in the control maintained over shooting and the durational methods of production. Known for her sculptural installations of looped video works, Lloyd's practice encompasses a range of filmic, photographic and textual practices: from slide shows to actions filmed in a single take to recent experiments with movement, and editing in-camera. With each work, Lloyd appears to set herself a series of parameters, the most often used being 'moving subject, static camera, single take'. These kind of prescriptions can be found in the work of filmmakers such as Victor Burgin, but when employed by Lloyd they operate less as distancing techniques and instead produce an intensity to the filmic vision that is more akin to earlier experimental filmmakers, such as Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger or Jack Smith. The strict parameters that are found in each of Lloyd's works sets up a tension that is akin to Bertolt Brecht's instructions for 'epic theatre', in which the viewer is made aware of the act of viewing through the 'demonstrative gesture' of the actor, and the making strange through quotation and ritual which allows for a critical rather than unthinking response to the scenes depicted. In an early essay on how to produce the correct kind of engagement in theatre Brecht says that theatre should be "Witty. Ceremonious. Ritual." In Lloyd's work, the making strange of an action or image through repetition, framing or installation does not simply drain it of emotion, but instead revitalises the gesture, filling it with new meanings that are in part up to the viewer to complete.

1. Bertolt Brecht, "A Dialogue About Acting" (1929), in Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic, ed. and trans. John Willett, Metheun Drama: London, 1964, 1995, p.26.

Say Directly What You Want, video still, 1993
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