Strange Readings



Break Up
Directed by Julia Oldham and John Royer
Cast: Julia Oldham and John Royer
Additional Cameras: Kristina Bilonik
Music: Julia Oldham

Break Up is a collaborative performance/video work by video artist Julia Oldham (Brooklyn, NY and Eugene, OR) and experimental physicist John Royer (National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD). This piece connects a fizzled emotional relationship to dissertation work done by Dr. Royer at the University of Chicago. Royer studied the interactions of granular materials, specifically the creation and break up of streams of sand. While doing this work, he found the metaphors and language of his experiment to be uncannily relevant to the arc of a romantic relationship. In Break Up, Oldham and Royer perform as labmates and ex-lovers. Their characters alternately inhabit their shared scientific laboratory and a lonely winter beach, and they exclusively use language from Royer’s experiment both to present their research and to describe their emotions as they stage a romantic break up.

This video was made possible by Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn, NY and the Oregon Arts Commission in Portland, OR.