Being in Time (dancing with david)

Jayden Dreher

Being In Time (dancing with david) is an experimental camcorder video collage that challenges normative notions of research, identity, and Being in a specific Time (Heidegger). Focused on queering filmic practices, this maximalist video employs personal footage captured on a Hitachi DZ-HS300A camera between September and December 2021. The performance art documentation takes place in a studio, and is edited alongside interviews with queer artists found from NYC online archives. The footage is interwoven, obscuring the lines which typically separate one from their art practice, distinguish one from the Other, and one from any kind of temporal specificity. 

Upon entering into a reciprocal relationship with a camcorder from a second-hand shop, the artist, Jayden, nurtured and cared for the apparatus in exchange for the footage it captured. This instigated a project aimed at queering normative research and archival practices. The device, which was a mass produced consumer grade camera in the early 2000s, provided the foundation for the project and determined  its final outcome. For example, technological limitations guided what could and could not be transferred from the internal hard drive to the computer. Additionally, because the device was manufactured in an analog time but is being operated in a digital present, there is a specific aesthetic quality that orientates one towards feelings of nostalgia and remembrance. 

During production, three negotiations became visible before they were synthesized into the final form. Firstly, the daily footage represented an archive of quotidian happenings. Secondly, the footage of artists being interviewed from a different time was a response to Jayden’s yearning to enter a relationship with them but the impossibility of doing so because many of them had died from AIDs-related complications in the 1980/90s. Finally, the footage from the performance art takes this one step further in that it is a direct reference to the work, writings, and life of David Wojnarowicz who Jayden feels would have had some kind of collaborative relationship if they were alive concurrently.

As the footage was captured over the course of four months, it was worked and reworked until the layering of clips became so complex that one is often indistinguishable from the other. In the same way that the artist’s body is physically inseparable from the time it exists, so too is the artist’s body from the footage and the conceptual framework that fueled the creation process. If made in any other time it would be completely different. Being In Time (dancing with david) necessitated the intervention and temporal specificity of Jayden’s life, research, and hand in order to reflect his yearning and nostalgia for Being in a different Time and Place.

This creative work is licensed under Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.


Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1962.

Jayden Dreher is an emerging interdisciplinary artist whose practice focuses on the multiplicities of Self and Other / Here and There / Now and Then. Through both collaborative and independent explorations, he attempts to better understand Being in this Time and the intimacies of queer subjecthood, relationships, and space. Jayden situates his lived experience at the centre of his research and practices embodied forms of art making.