Fought (2011-12) consists of three elements: (1) a live event in which a boxing match is re-enacted; (2) a documentary film, based on the re-enactment and interviews with the boxers and audience; (3) a play, based on the documentary film. The project explores, through different formats, the tension between a live event and a re-enactment. As an extension, it explores the tensions between the visceral force of the event and the possibilities of discursive reflection in an artwork – a mediating point between artifice and reality.
Fought (the re-enactment) (2011) was a restaging of a boxing match held at a venue in central London and witnessed by a crowd of artists, curators and others, many of whom had never seen a boxing match before. The original fight was between Ed Haines and Justin Hudson for the Light Heavyweight title, staged at the Clapham Grand in London, on the 17th June 2008. Based on models of battle re-enactment, popular since Romans recreated battles in their amphitheatres as spectacles, Fought was intended to bring the spontaneity of a fight into collision with the drama of a predetermined situation. Fought was intended to be boxing stripped of aggression and transformed into an act that resembles a dance or choreographed performance. The professionalism of the boxer’s training meant that the punches seemed real.
Fought (The film) (2012) is a documentary film based on the live event described above, made in collaboration with film maker Renee Vaughan Sutherland and BWB Boxing. The film features interviews with the boxers, the two founders of the boxing federation (BWB), and members of the audience. The film is shot on HD using several cameras that combine static shots and roaming footage to capture the pace of the fight; this action is interspersed with interviews in which individuals reflect on their personal experience of the event. They reflect on issues including showmanship, pageantry, fraternity, violence, gender roles and philosophies. As the film progresses we learn that the boxing federation is run by firefighters – “nice guys”, adding a further complex ethical position for viewers of the film.
Fought (The play) (2012) is a performance scripted from the above documentary film. It looks at the fight elements, using those parts to construct a re-imagined live event, there will be two performers in the roles of sports commentators. By removing the visceral action of the fighters and describing it in words alone, it provides a platform for exploring tangential ideas, discursive possibilities, and associated theories of boxing.