Last 7 Words

Scott Treleaven

2009, 11:00 minutes, colour


In the words of Scott Treleaven, “Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge passed away in October 2007. I'd known Jaye for as long as I'd known Gen(esis Breyer P-Orridge, Lady Jaye's spouse). I was living in Paris at the time, and Gen came here during a Throbbing Gristle tour in 2008. I hadn't been able to make a trip to New York, so I hadn't seen Gen in person since shortly before Jaye's death. I was at Gen's hotel early in the morning, we'd planned to go out for the day, and Gen was getting ready. I wasn't sure how we'd address Jaye's absence; if we'd talk a lot about Jaye, about Gen's grief. I'd bought my little super8 camera with me – I used to take it everywhere – but I wasn't really planning on filming anything. Then there was this moment: Gen started blowdrying her hair, it looked so ethereal and amazing, we kind of looked at each other and I started filming. I only ended up with a tiny bit of footage and I'd thought "ah fuck I lost the moment". Months later I got the film transferred to video and slowed it down. The camera breaking down had made these bursts of white light. I just happened to be listening to my friend Terence Hannum's band Locrian, and the track seemed to fit the image perfectly. It kind of said everything about that morning, about my fondness for Genesis and, for me at least, about Jaye's presence rather than her absence. The title came from an F. Holland Day photograph I'd been looking at recently – a self-portrait of the photographer as Christ suffering, framed more or less identically to how Gen was framed by my camera. NOT drawing a parallel between Gen and Jesus, obviously, so much as the outcast queer person experiencing suffering and some kind of transcendence simultaneously.” - Scott Treleaven

"...the elder artist (Genesis Breyer P-Orridge) turns her head back and forth as her blonde hair blows about and white light repeatedly swallows her visage....Despite the title, there are no utterances. And the close-cropped, slo-mo image is oddly inscrutable. Are we to perceive P-Orridge's age - an elder alchemist blow-drying her dyed blonde hair at her dressing table?....As much as fear or acceptance of one's own death may be the subject, it might otherwise be the hard work of mourning. Is knowledge of the recent passing of Lady Jaye Breyer, relevant? If the answer is yes, or even maybe, then we have drawn a full circle back to questions of love and the Beloved - although here, crucially, the beloved is absent, outside of the frame....I would argue that Last 7 Words is a portrait of love and grief, its noisy silence grasping at the inconsolable pain of losing a loved one. If the young magician fired sigils to find friends, he is now acting within the context of those friendships. Derek Jarman advised Treleaven as a young man to make artwork about his friends, and the artist appears to be still heeding this counsel. Moreover, the artwork's function remains magical, fulfilling traditional shamanic roles: to mediate loss, and to heal." - Elijah Burgher, C Magazine

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