I didn’t want the video to be dispassionately displayed on a screen or projector. It was important for me that a physical experience should be conveyed physically.
The moving image works I find most successful tend to be immersive, breaking out into three dimensions and igniting a corporal awareness on the part of the viewer, making them feel more connected to the work. Giving them more to explore, enjoy and respond to once the film is absorbed, and aiding that absorption. I was particularly excited by Pipolitti Rist’s exhibition at Hauser and Worth, and by an exhibition at Exeter Phoenix involving Ryan Curtis and Nick Davies. I wanted to make a fairly subtle installation, using objects from my grandad’s house that resonate with the film in specific ways.
Window: Light, Outside
I was keen to position the installation near a window, subtly allowing the light and sounds of the outside affect the viewer. It is a film about being outside. With household objects strewn across the countryside in various states of disrepair.
TV: Domestic, Inside
My grandad had the best TV in the family, mostly because he was the least active. Other than sitting on his front step, it was his window to the world.
Bench: Memorial, Outside
My grandad’s garden bench, now rather ‘down at heel’. Using a bench invokes the inside/outside aspect of the project, and flags up the act of memorial. This is further enhanced by the memorial plaque, which I’ve kept very plain, with the title and dates of the project.
I selected books for their titles:
A Sailor’s Life alerts the viewer to the biographical aspect of the project
The London nobody knows alludes to the impossibility of knowing a place or person fully
The Path Between the Seas could reference the Thames and the Mersey; between myself and my grandad, but also the seas of life and death, or the unknown places before and after life. It highlights the idea of the in-between, of treading a path between past and present; between knowing and not knowing.
The North West Passage I was walking North West to Liverpool (Good Friday walking westwards)
The Cruel Sea reminds the viewer of the storytelling element, and of the harshness of reality (April is the cruellest month)
London Old and New resonates with the notion of time traveling, of a place encompassing multiple times. I have put a bookmark in at a page with relevant text (click on imageto view)
Ladrow: Light, Direction, Companionship
My grandad collected these strange decorative objects. This one depicts a girl and boy supporting each other, with a candle leading the way. I felt it resonates strongly with the film; which contains repeated footage of walking through dark tunnels towards light. My grandad also mentions taking a candle to bed to read as a rare treat.
Clock: Time, Transience, Death
The film is about transience, and death. This unusual clock encapsulates my grandad’s singular taste. It has also, in a strange coincidence, stopped at his time of death. The oval shape has featured throughout my MFA and alludes to romantic landscape paintings and etchings of the past.
The ship: Sea, Disintegration
Although the film was less about running away to sea than I had envisaged, it is there in the background. This little ship is fragile, falling apart, and turns the floor into the sea, linking the small objects on the windowsill with the floor and containing the installation. It is framed by the bench as you walk into the room, sparking curiosity in the viewer and enticing them down
Framed Postcard: Domestic, Sea, Past
This vintage postcard depicts the Trojan Star, the ship that my grandad went to sea on.
Sound: Domestic, Intimate
Consistently domestic, I decided not to use additional speakers or headphones for the installation. The sound is a murmur that draws you through the room, but invites intimacy and careful listening. It is hard listening to someone in hospital, and it is hard to remember things properly when your brain and body are breaking down. The listener is invited to enter into this. The sound gets stronger and clearer throughout the film, as I near my destination.