Wildlife Documentary #7
40 seconds with sound,looping
Wildlife Documentary #15
40 seconds with sound,looping
These films examine the technology of representative documentation. #7, Flipbooks of seagulls derived from video footage have been through a digital editing process, are constructed, and choreographed reconstructed and then re-filmed. #15 is of flowers opening and closing. Time is played with and what appear to be visible events are usually invivble to the eye.
The flipbooks remind us that film/video technology still relies on an illusion of movement. The cinematic device of a film within a film, often to imply a past event, is mirrored in the two points of view in the video. Using a pre cinematic device within a video completes a cycle of technology. The images are video stills, and their re-presentation on video both allows us to see the images ‘come to life’, while denying any direct encounter with the physical form of the books, much less their living subjects. Accompanying sound is released when the flipbooks are operated increasing the sense of magic at the illusion encountered.
Offering a counterpoint to the drama and spectacle of conventional wildlife documentaries, this work elicits the same tendency to focus on those aspects of animal behaviour, which suggest human frailties and emotions. Offering a counterpoint to the drama and spectacle of conventional wildlife documentaries, this work elicits the same tendency to focus on those aspects of animal behaviour, which suggest human frailties and emotions.
A short loop of a starling, the same action repeated over and over.
As you watched it, the repetition began to seem like a nervous twitch of neurotic behaviour. The monitor was placed in the window to make the birds containment and isolation from nature more poignant
This work is about Dartmoor and the daily experience of it. Contemporary rural life is often characterised by dispersed communities. The distances between services, places of residence and work, are increasing year by year. I wanted to represent this aspect of rural life, acknowledging the presence and graphics of roads as an integral part of the landscape.
Ten people gave me their daily or regular journeys. Many of these were to/from work, or whilst working. Some were on foot (tractor, horse) most were by car. I filmed these journeys and broke them down into individual frames and sequences.
I wanted to try to evoke the feelings of these journeys, the small details one notices, as the season and light changes. The pleasure that reaching a certain point might give you. I examined the sections that interested me, teasing out tiny sections, compressing others.
There is a distinct visual difference between journeys made by foot or from a car. Speed changes the scale and distance visible. Sound become more significant when walking, the intrusive presence of helicopters. I only did these journeys once between October and February this year but felt very lucky to have these glimpses into the routines of people who live on Dartmoor.
Dartmoor seems to occupy a very specific cultural place as a region in the nations cultural consciousness; one that transcends its designation as a national park. Dartmoor is a distinctive geological and cultural region, with its own climate, and landscape.
Perhaps because of its remoteness from London, it’s high security prison, or its place in fiction, it seems to be a place of fear for those unable to be on their own.
This work has two contrasting scales. The large print, Angels, a group of three figures look away from us; the smallscale works, the small strip like narratives taking place on the earth below.
All the work has been made from details in holiday postcards.
We assume that separate images in a strip denotes a narrative; like a strip of movie film, time has passed from one end to the other. These stories make something out of nothing. What is included or excluded infers meaning. These tiny events are events about to happen, or have just happened but their meaning isn’t clear. The passing of time is implied, but it might be a tiny part of a second.
This work refers to the artifice of representation and blatantly shows the printing dot of mass produced photographic imagery. The printing dots (the visual filter of the twentieth century) are made so huge they almost make the work at close quarters unreadable.
Man imposes artificial systems on the planet in order to control and dominate. Man has a primeval fear of nature, the smallest plant will eventually crack concrete. We have had to devise systems for controlling the planet. The map grid define the earth as bisected by invisible lines, each identifiable by co-ordinates.
Surveillance systems observe to control. Developed from the military, observational tracking systems are used in target locating, for missiles. The grids show stills from video footage of the landscape and extend a moment of looking, a milli-second made visible.
55 prints hung in a giant grid made over the course of a year. Each print shows a few seconds from a walk made in the area. The work was made in and around Cleeve Abbey, a ruined Thirteenth Century Cistercian monastery and was made specifically for the huge upstairs refectory room where all the monks would ea together watched over by wooden carved angels. The monastery is sparsely decorated with carved details of nature. The intention of the work was to look at the details of nature in a similar way to that already existing in the abbey; and to try to make work that was timeless and reflected the cyclical nature of prayer and repetition that life within the monastery would have been like.
Digital work needn’t be screen based.
Interactive work needn’t mean a CD.
Filmic narratives needn’t be epic.
These are restless times. The first in a series of flipbooks given away free with make magazine resembling the custom of giving away samples of beauty products with women’s magazines. This issue of make coincided with the launch of the Ulay Award for Women Artists in association with make Magazine and the theme of the issue was miniature.
My work connects miniature with new technology in the form of ‘an interactive digital work’. A one and a half second screening is available to the viewer via flipping the pages, a pre-cinematic technique where persistence of vision gives the illusion of movement. This particular film is of two seagulls. One walks across the frame from left to right, the other pecks the ground behind. Seagulls scavenge at the edges of human activity, in harbours, fishing boats and waste tips, living off the debris of tourism. The territorial cawing seagull undermines the bird as an analogy of the human spirit, wild and free. Instead, the seagull has become a metaphor for urban society
I find it interesting to explore narrative form with a seemingly banal story. I enjoy grappling with visual depictions of time. Seagulls tie in with televisions current obsession with wildlife documentaries, where an illusion of the natural world is presented as entertainment in the guise of education to a post-industrial society with a collective yearning for Arcadia.
A Photo love story, published by the Festerman Press, 210 x 148 mm,full colour 24 pages.
Two stories woven together, two women, one man, based on the lyrics from 24 hours from Tulsa, Hal David & Burt Bachrach, an internal accompanying narrative from horosopes comments on and subverts the action.
republished in Foam Magazine, click here