Antony Hamilton’s ‘Sentinal’

I saw a short video clip of Antony Hamilton’s choreographed work ‘Sentinal’ on his social media @n_0_c0mment and I was blown away. A few years ago I did a few screenshots of various stills he had posted. A couple found their way onto a wall and I loved the stages, costumes and choreography of what I saw. I had not seen a longer clip of the choreography until recently and I found the clip of ‘Sentinal’ mesmerising.

There is a lot of sampling going on in the work by way of references, I felt that some of the gestures that looped reminded me of young men I may have seen in my youth and more recently. There is a kind of mania and emotive gestural pattern that radiates from the hooded figures who are youthful and at once stuck in patterns of behaviour that are manic and slightly desperate. 

The more they loop the more their emotions are heightened and faster. The world itself works at speed especially the connected world and there is an echo chamber of emotive movement that is connected to people around us. In that way we find ourselves working together but also having to find ways within each other’s space and around each other’s space. 

We all loop together and as this part of the clip closes the standing figures draw out a space that brings the other into a moment to breathe and a change of direction and focus. I like the subtle Star Wars references in the costumes and the darkness that sets the modulations into play. The grainy footage was also a welcome addition as though the whole scene is under surveillance.

Of course any theatrical art form and even portrait painting is surveillance of some kind. I did a drawing of some stills of the work and could see Antony’s distinct globular drawing style come through. His work is in a way controlled psychedelia that references Hip Hop and that in itself plays into a whole other world that Chuck D summed up as saying people who love Hip Hop love all music.

I suppose Steve Reich’s sampling is the illustration of making things multidimensional and that is how complex art forms like choreography blow holes in reality and create that psychedelic texture that is how Hip Hop loves all music but also loves all forms. In a way the connected landscape of stratified thinking, either conspiratorial or otherwise seems to gel in Antony Hamilton’s work and we are silhouetted from the darkness trying to get out of the loop we are stuck in.

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