Marsel Reddick employs combinations of sound, claymation, sculpture, and performance to explore the (non)existence of the socially individualized self. They are interested in affect as a magical device: a tool for transformation of the mundane and communication that transcends ego and logic. In their work, they attempt to challenge the binaries of self and other by drawing attention to the relational interactions between these ostensibly disparate entities, rather than their assumed differences. Marsel often draws upon magical and divinatory practices, inspired by the methodologies of fluxus and surrealist artists, to allude to invisible forces and interconnectivity. They use materials in this way too, considering the soothing effect of low-frequencies on the body, or the way claymations can conjure the presence of an invisible sculpting hand, or the anticipation evoked by a small sparkling object on a city bus.
In the summer of 2023, as an artist in residence at Stride Gallery in Mohkinstsis, Marsel reimagined tarot cards with seminal transmasculine figures from history, such as Pauli Murray, Lou Sullivan, and Anton Prinner. Drawing upon Yoko Ono’s wishful artistic strategies, and dissident dissemination processes modelled by Claude Cahun, Adrian Piper, and Soviet Samizdat, they designed and printed numerous sets of tarot cards, with shimmering laminations, to discreetly leave face down on city buses. Future passengers could notice a sparkle and turn over the card as one would in a divinatory act. The work’s title, Bus Pass, aims to merge ideas of secret note passing and passing in terms of gender, and the transitory freedom provided by an actual bus pass. When discovered and kept, the cards become talismans for trans survival and protection, illuminating a vibrant world as a way to enact new possibilities for the future.
In exploring the (non)existence of the self, Marsel's process oscillates between efforts to reject authorship, as with the dissemination of Bus Pass, and introspective works based on their dreams and desires. Their video Hold my hand (2023) is an unedited documentation of Marsel interacting with their shadow. The video begins with a large shadow pacing in and out of the frame, seemingly detached from a body. As they enter and reach for the shadow, their gestures cause it to move away. This leads to repeated attempts to hold hands with their shadow as it continues to evade them, demonstrating a contingent relational interaction between the inner self and the external world. At times, the lighting causes the body and the shadow to blur together, becoming a homogenized mass. This search to greet the other within dissolves the distinction between myself and my shadow.
As an artist and writer, Marsel focuses on the dissolution of the self as a site for transformation. Their most recent published texts can be found here.