The plan for South Africa was to follow up on With the Nomads with further patient observational documentaries. And I had some great subjects, with great access: Pentecostal church groups speaking in tongues on Melville Koppies, hospice patients both brave and frightened telling me what it was like to know they would die soon, with their tough-minded, dedicated and expert nurses giving their side of the story. I got some good footage, but nothing that I could make anything out of that you could call a documentary, in the end. I realised what a gift that desert landscape had been. Continue reading South Africa Train Video
In 2005, having long loved Samuel Beckett’s writing and recently read the wonderful biography Damned to Fame, Lara characteristically found out how to get in touch with the author, James Knowlson, and wrote to him. At his suggestion we got the train to Reading and a bus to the university to find, off a corridor in the upper floors of its musty 1970s library building, the place where all Beckett’s letters and books were being kept. The archivist, Julian Garforth, was one of the few people alive who could read Beckett’s handwriting. He was extraordinarily generous with his time and enthusiasm. I saw the funny little cartoons that Beckett drew in margins. I saw conkers from a tree in the garden of his house in a French village where he went to write. It was the hundredth anniversary of his birth the next year, so I had an idea to make my name with some tie-in art. I took some photos on that first visit, and thanks to Julian Garforth I took more and made some video on another visit a few months later. 2006 came and went, but I still like these photos and the video. It’s all here.
The archive was soon moved to an environmentally controlled basement of the Museum of English Rural Life, where you can’t just visit and leaf through the pages, and Julian Garforth doesn’t work there any more.
It is what it is. Bukhulubakhe Mchunu, AKA Induna, AKA Nicholas, is also a musician. I was hoping to work in some footage of him rehearsing with his dancers, but it would have been a bit corny. I finished editing this in 2016.
I must have fallen asleep, for all of a sudden there was the moon, a huge moon framed in the window. Two bars divided it in three segments, of which the middle remained constant, while little by little the right gained what the left lost. For the moon was moving from left to right, or the room was moving from right to left, or both together perhaps, or both were moving from left to right, but the room not so fast as the moon, or from right to left, but the moon not so fast as the room. But can one speak of right and left in such circumstances? That movements of an extreme complexity were taking place seemed certain, and yet what a simple thing it seemed, that vast yellow light sailing slowly behind my bars and which little by little the dense wall devoured, and finally eclipsed. And now its tranquil course was written on the walls, a radiance scored with shadow, then a brief quivering of leaves, if they were leaves, then that too went out, leaving me in the dark. How difficult it is to speak of the moon and not lose one’s head, the witless moon. It must be her arse she shows us always. Yes, I once took an interest in astronomy, I don’t deny it.
from Molloy by Samuel Beckett
While I was at Central St Martins I played with bricks and paint, went back into my comfort zone of photography and video, started to get bored by my own work, had a bit of a crisis, doodled my way out of it, and worked my way up to this, my degree show piece. I was rather pleased with it. They weren’t.
Thanks to the great Sinéad Rushe for being in it.
Hackney Central to Acton Central. A journey I made very often for a few years. Great views: panoramas, near misses with Victorian brickwork, trackside flowers.
The installation version uses a video projection, a 14″ monitor and loudspeaker, and lasts 52 hours. Made in 1999.
The flyer said:
7.30pm, 15 & 16 June. 4 or 3 pounds. Red Rose Club, 129 Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park tube.
Music for cello and electronics. Improvisation, darkness and the sound of breath aim to contribute to a soft but strong experience of music and sound. Projections, a web and things.
Here’s what I wrote to people to encourage them to come: Continue reading Calvino: An Experiment
The blurb said: Continue reading Black & Blue
This is shown on two 60″ DVDs, two 14″ video monitors, and was made in 1998–9. I recorded the video material over a long weekend at the South Bank and then for a long time didn’t know what to do with it. I had in mind some cleverly composited piece of work, but eventually, as with With the Nomads, realised that I had made it what it would be while I had the camera in my hands. Shown at the Lux Cinema, 2000, and at Mutiny at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, an exhibition of work by the Lost Property artists’ group, 2003. Also at Unhuman in 2015. I’d like to put the whole thing online in its proper video format, but it would take an awful lot of bandwidth. Continue reading London Beach