SHELLEY ON A LOOP - a durational performance installation for galleries
Shelley on a Loop follows a structured sequence of choreographed actions, utterances and gestures, taken from a scene from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, in which the character Wendy Torrence, played by Shelley Duvall brandishes a baseball bat as she is confronted by a demonic Jack Nicholson.
The sequence follows a system involving different phases. One phase invites members of the public to participate by entering the performance loop, taking part by embodying Shelley's hysteria, fear and confusion for themselves. A door in the installation space leads to the participation room where audience members can sign up to become a participant, and experience a training session. Each participant is then photographed during this loop in performing a set action and their photo adds to the archive of documented Shelleys.
Duvall's relationship throughout the shoot with director Stanley Kubrick was notoriously strained. He allegedly picked on her more than anyone else. He would lose his temper with her, even going so far as to say that she was wasting the time of everyone on the set. In the documentary Making ‘The Shining’, Vivian Kubrick reveals that her father’s tactic to make Duvall feel utterly hopeless, was to ensure she received “no sympathy at all” from anyone on the set; this is most evident when Kubrick tells Vivian, “Don’t sympathize with Shelley” and then goes on to tell Duvall, “It doesn’t help you.” Duvall later reflected that Kubrick was probably pushing her to her limits to get the best out of her, and she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, but it was not something she ever wished to repeat.
The scene in which Wendy is swinging a bat at Jack is an example of this pushing. The scene actually made it into The Guinness Book of Records because it took 127 takes, the most for a scene with spoken dialogue. This figure can however range, depending where you read it; some say it was 75 takes, one says only 35 and another says 97.
We acknowledge Shelley's ordeal in this event by running our version of the scene something close to 127 times.
We are also collecting an archive of portraits of participants embodying Shelley in a variety of styles manners, shapes and states.
Shelley on a Loop is performed by Monsur Ali, Ben Ash, Erik Nevin and Stella Papi
sound is by Jules Maxwell,
with video production and technical management from Tony Wadham
Thanks to Charlie Ashwell, Antonio de la Fe and Christiane Stroubakis
Created with development support from Chapter, Experimentica and Theatre in the Mill, Bradford, Modern Art Oxford and Dance4
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England