An interview with Russell Haswell and Hugo Esquinca

Conversation about Haswell and Esquinca’s Cadaver Exquisito project made during coronavirus lockdown, including a short introductory text reflecting on the weird temporality of the period. Available as a free download from Sonic Acts.


Wrinkles in time. Every new bout of isolation folds us inward. Dark enclaves in which we feel out hidden recesses, monadic interiors with only LCD windows, intensive close-quartered eternities conducive to revisiting memories of comfort, reappraising lifestyles, cultural habits, wardrobes, pets, jobs, relationships…. The clock stops dead then jolts ahead, and on the other side of the fold someone exits who doesn’t resemble the one that entered. Tucked away by national decree, you still participate in a soundtrack of noise and contingency. Death is abroad and you can’t even get on a plane. Somewhere between boredom and terror, ambient anxiety clicks into the curve as one nation after another unlocks their next run on the common global rollercoaster. It’s analogue synthesis 101: a repeating curve is just a circle in disguise, swept by a line like the second hand of a clock. Bouncing Back? Something obscure has happened to time, and no one’s quite sure whether they’ve had too much real or desperately need more. But a crisis is an opportunity. Allow the climate to move through you at all scales, to alter you, to unlock ferocity and fragility. Refuse to perform in the real-time reality show and instead immerse yourself in abjection so as to manifest a fragmented immediacy, the way Russell Haswell and Hugo Esquinca made their two iterations of Cadáver Exquisito: disparately together, with maximum porosity but minimal overlap, in bits and pieces joined by that gap that separates us in time from ourselves, making us discontinuous but exquisite corpses.