Sunday, 22 June 2008

Controlled Wilderness

It's been a while since I blogged and things have moved along quite a bit with ideas for work. As Bridget has mentioned we took a good long walk that broke in my boots and gave me a better appreciation of the scale and diversity of landscape in the park. We saw a deer, no red squirrels though.

The main thing that struck me was that we walked for almost 6 hours and only saw 2 people, this really crystalised the idea of approaching isolation in the work I eventually make. Thinking about the original brief - people - place - time in particular - what I find very interesting in Northumberland National Park is that there aren't a lot of people. As soon as you get away from the popular Hadrian's Wall walk I imagine you could go for days without any contact, if you wanted to.

Prior to starting on the project I was interested in looking at how the body and landscape relate to one another, how they interact. I am still very keen to approach this idea in the work. What I have observed in the park is that the body and the landscape are actually at odds quite a lot of the time. We constantly attempt to manipulate and control our surroundings, make everything safe and functional, though it may seem on first encounter that the park has escaped this, in some senses it is still a victim. The timeless wilderness is a controlled one.

The work I plan to make for the residency focuses on the landscape as a threshold space where the body repeatedly attempts to infiltrate, interrupt, alter, infect, control, colonise and give structure. I am planning to use video and photography. For the video work I will capture slow pan shots at locations within the park where the landscape is uninterrupted. I hope to shoot in HD and slow the footage, referencing painting and the sense of timelessness in a quite literal way. In contrast to this I will use footage from the body, manipulated to appear on the video as interference or faults in the film - a contradiction.

Northumberland based photographer Simon Fraser has agreed to meet with me to discuss potential locations for filming. He was commissioned by the park to photograph places without any border divides which ties quite well into some of my own concerns. I will be working with editor and independent film-maker Ian Bailey through a series of DigitalCity facilitated mentoring sessions toward the completion of the video work.

I am also very keen to make a series images which I would hope to locate within the park, more to follow on this idea later...

No comments: