Film: Eryka Dellenbach
Performance: Nola Sporn Smith
Shot in 2018
Edited in 2020
Location: Eryka’s apartment in Brooklyn
Material: 2x 100 ft. rolls of digitally transferred Color Negative 16mm film
Nola, Apt. features two segments of a solo Eryka witnessed Nola performing when they first met. Partially influenced by visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2013, the solo explores the act of private ritual put on public display, and inversely, the individualization of public ritual.
The Western Wall is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, held to be uniquely holy by the ancient Jews and destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. There is a lasting practice of kissing the surface, placing notes, or whispering into the crevices of this wall by visitors. The wall is also strictly divided by gender - women are allotted about half of the space devoted to men - though it is easy to peer through the fencing to witness the practices of those on the other side.
‘A wall is like a projection screen for fantasy, how the further we turn away from the outside world, the deeper we go within - and also, the blinder we become to what surrounds us. ‘ (Nola, 2020)
Switching the context of Nola’s performance [back] to a private setting brings the work to a confrontation with its own vulnerability. Adding a third layer of celluloid film documentation creates a new, fragile dynamic between performer and viewer. The editing of the performance by the filmmaker emphasizes the sensual element in the performance and juxtaposes choreographic moments located at the poles of the brutal, and the more gentle, perceived through the lens of the female gaze.