GLUE is the first feature-length film by Irish artist Oisin Byrne, with artist and collaborator Gary Farrelly. Told through manic and confessional monologues and dialogues, Gary – a cross-dressing narcoleptic – delivers a comic insight into our shattered subjectivity.
As Gary comes off the mood-enhancing drugs used to treat his narcolepsy, time and identity are dislocated between places real and imagined: Gary’s flat in Brussels, a disintegrating Irish country house, the ‘floating train’ in Wuppertal, Gary’s own grave, and a maternity ward. Gary himself is linguistically pyrotechnic, quick-witted, and provocative, but it is the hesitations, slow-time and the intimate space of filmmaking that produce a portrait which is both tender and brutally touching.
The film articulates Byrne’s ongoing interrogation of identity formation through linguistic models of naming, shaming, interpellation and performativity, particularly in relation to queer experience. In Farrelly’s dextrous performance, at turns good humoured and desperate, we see the shuttling of subjectivity between belonging and alienation, identification and wilful refusal of categorisation. The psychic rupture caused by these breaks is palpable.
Long term collaborators Byrne and Farrelly periodically placed themselves in proximity to each other, inventing and instituting game spaces and terms over a period of five years. These itinerant meeting-places provided a series of elsewheres from what Samuel Beckett describes as ‘the danger [of… ] the neatness of identifications’.