George Henry Longly

Volume Excess by George Henry Longly follows the process of making a plaster cast of an athletic, tattooed male body. Firstly layers of vaseline, alginate, burlap and plaster are applied over the models body. A highly detailed but fragile mould is produced. The mould is filled with plaster and pigment, which dries and is dismembered on a marble base. Limbs, torso and fractured shards drift past the lens, forming a monochromatic landscape.

  • Voice 1. What are we doing exactly?
  • Voice 2. We are taking something from you.
  • Voice 1. No, this is an exchange.
  • Voice 2. Position yourself.
  • Voice 1. Position yourself.

Closeup shots of the process are accompanied by a score co-written and produced by Andrew Spence, incorporating pulsing techno soundtrack and synthesized spoken word.

Going by the initials GHL, the artist has an extremely wide ranging practice; from DJing at his club night Anal House Meltdown, to producing a performance based on the structure of a fashion show at The Serpentine Gallery pavilion for their Park Nights programme. Similarly, this film’s sweeping, cinematic photography owes more to fashion and music video traditions than to documentary.

4th century scholar Jerome wrote that when Istanbul, then Constantinople, came under Roman rule it was ’dedicated by stripping all other cities.’ This makes it perhaps the perfect place for Longly to extend his teasing out the subjectivity, and sexuality, of the classical ideal. In its opposing aesthetics the film brings the demands of classical idealism into conversation with the technologies of the gaze over the past century.


Volume Excess, 2014
single channel video installation
4 min 36 sec

Score co-written and produced by Andrew Spence