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Collision - The shattering of pictorial space and an atomic explosion

Painter, printmaker and editor Melissa Gordon is interested in addressing the exhibition as a ‘theatre in the round’: highlighting shifting perspectives when staging her work.  Tonight at 7pm, 22nd January 2016 she launches Fallible Space, a week long exhibition in Bluecoat's Performance Space with the first ever staging of Mina Loy's 1916 play Collision.

Loy's experimental script, which sees the total transformation of a space as lights blaze and “the angle of floors and ceiling change kaleidoscopically”, determines the hang of Gordon's canvases.

The installation will provide the backdrop to an afternoon of readings and discussion dedicated to Loy 4pm, Saturday 30 January. The event, ‘Myths of the Modern Woman’  features Melissa Gordon and poets Sandeep Parmar, Zoe Skoulding, Sara Crangle, Joanne Ashcroft, Robert Sheppard and is curated by Parmar. 

Collision (1916) can be read as both the shattering of pictorial space and an atomic explosion, but what influenced Loy to write this play and was it ever intended to be staged?

Sandeep said: "As far as I’m aware, the play has never been staged and was, of course, published alongside another Futurist play ‘Cittabapini’ in the little magazine Rogue. Loy’s involvement with Marinetti and Papini (both rival Futurists) and her attraction to the dynamism (psychological, not technological) of the movement is evident in ‘Collision’, as is Marintetti’s parole-en-liberta, that is, words in freedom. So aesthetically and in terms of energy—kinetic dynamism of the ‘background’ as a working part of the play, it’s Futurist inspired and this has been written about by Loy scholars. What’s perhaps more interesting is Loy’s commitment to the inception of psychological birth, inspiration, insight, genius as it is depicted by the play’s action.

"The explosiveness and the total psychic reawakening that ‘Collision’ implies is something one sees elsewhere repeatedly throughout Loy’s published and unpublished oeuvre. There’s an essay about walking through Geneva and feeling a transcendental ‘bolt’ go through her body which is bizarre but in keeping with Loy’s terrific displacement of the everyday. Looking back, in her autobiographies, these sorts of moments—moments of complete change, newness, strangeness, psychic thrust even—repeat like signs on her artistic path. Is she creating or interpreting them? This is the question that I ask myself as I read her multiple versions of her life written over forty years…

"I think it’s impossible to say whether Loy wanted to stage it but needless to say once she published it and appeared in New York and was involved with the Provincetown Players she could well have done so if she’d wished. But perhaps by then Futurism was past its sell-by date and she’d moved on. This seems more likely."


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Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat showcases talent across visual art, music, dance, live art and literature. As the most ...

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