Year of release: 2007
Original format: HD video (16.9)
Running time: 2 minutes
Screening format: QuickTime, Blu-ray or DVD
Credits: A film by Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore
Production: Sundog Media
Distribution and sales: Sundog Media email@example.com
Play with found objects discovered on the pavement or in the gutter during a circular walk along the Laira and part of the south west coastal path in Plymouth.
Commissoned by Stephen Littman University for the Creative Arts, and Peter E. Richardson University of Dundee; a joint research project for the Definitive Stories section of the National Review of Live Art (NRLA) screening programme at the Tramway Gallery in Glasgow. Other commissioned artists: Steve Hawley (UK), Jeremy Welsh (Norway), Gair Dunlop (UK), The Yes Men (USA / France), Theo Podramisis (Greece) and Rosie Gun (UK); the Definitive Stories collection is held in the NRLA archive at University of Bristol.
HD forensics: play with fugitive objects found by the roadside, lost things rediscovered. Choreography of a tiny white party dress/scratched marbles (assorted colours)/one glass lens from a pair of spectacles/a golden heart charm with an imitation diamond in the centre/green plastic flower decoration/a bracelet of tiny red glass beads/silver crescent moon (scuffed and pitted with rust)/a sliver of cracked wing-mirror... We set up the high definition camera and looked at found objects we'd picked up from the pavement or gutter whilst walking around the outer reaches of the city. On screen the HD image became a miniature landscape of nauseous clarity. We stepped into the picture in search of the poetic. Light shone through a 35mm negative found by the Laira estuary over Christmas, we saw someone's pet rat in reverse watercolours textured across the surface of tiny things. We weren't in close enough, so we held a glass disc in front of the camera lens, looking to capture the unknown exterior, caught fleetingly as light spilled across the ceiling of a curtained room on a summer's day. We remembered lying in bed at night as cars spun their headlights overhead, then vanished.
Just before Christmas 2006 I was invited by Steven Littman (University College of the Creative Arts) and Peter Richardson (University of Dundee) to contribute to a research project in which artists explored the aesthetic and creative potential of the High Definition video format. I was excited by this fantastic opportunity - an open commission to make a film rarely comes out of the blue - and invited Stuart Moore, a photographer and film-maker who shares my commitment to an organic and experimental creative process, to collaborate with me on the project.
The concept of our film evolved from my dreams, combined with a series of circular walks around the ‘outer limits’ and boundaries of the city where we live: down the pathway beside an estuary, along the coastal path where it enters an industrial area near the wharfs, and following in reverse the underground flow of water to the sea - walking uphill against the current. As we walked each day we collected found objects: random ‘stuff’ that became the ingredients for our imaginary miniature world ‘on screen’ when we returned to the studio. The soundtrack reflects the otherworldly sonic experience of our ‘small world’, when we pass through the ultra-clear lens and enter the HD camera, and experience the world ‘within’.
Publication and comments
2007 The Definitive Stories project "investigates the deployment of High Definition technologies in an exhibition context. The research posed the question: Will HD technology deployed in an exhibition context, generate new forms of expression for artist/filmmakers?" (Megapixel programme notes).
Land/Water and the Visual Arts exhibition, for the Of the Earth: Art, Photography, Writing and the Environment conference organised by Plymouth University and Sunderland University in association with WALK ON touring exhibition; Scott Building, Plymouth University (24 and 25 October 2014)
Soundwaves Festival the Shorts a la Carte collection of 8 films screened ‘silently’ whilst each member of the audience curates their own soundtrack, part of the Listen! programme on the final evening; Sallis Benney Theatre, Brighton, UK. Thanks to Philip Ilson, London Short Film Festival (17 July 2011)
Plymouth Arts Centre’s Cinema City Mobile Cinema, at various locations around Plymouth from Monday to Friday; in the Sensing Place programme. Thanks to Anna Navas and Bryony Gillard (4 to 8 July 2011)
Shorts a la Carte Inamo Restaurant in Soho, Special Event for the 8th London Short Film Festival. Programme of 8 films projected (without sound) onto the diners’ tables; other films are: Twenty Foot Square, Verge: Nocturne, Heirloom, Poppies, Blue Kayak (Stuart Moore), Project, and Sunset Strip (9 January 2011)
Media Arts Festival Jill Craigie Cinema, Plymouth University, UK (27 September 2009)
Oddfellows: Collective Film Night Ker Street Social Club (aka The Egyptian House), Devonport, Plymouth, UK. Plymouth Arts Centre artists’ film event, with Anna Best, Andrea Crociani, Nicholas Grew, Mezarine, Stuart Moore, and Heidi C. Morstang. All artists assisted in the development of Anna Best’s film Buddleia, which evolved from her year-long residency at Plymouth Arts Centre. “Through the process of working with Anna Best and the interaction with each other it emerges, by chance, that these artists are drawn to film structure, aesthetics and narratives in similar ways. What binds their practice is their personal interpretations of social and political environment and their reflective and analytical use of film and video” (Programme notes, Paula Orrell, Curator Plymouth Arts Centre). The films Verge and Night Sounding were also screened (29 November 2007)
Strange Screen 6th Audiovisual Festival of Experimental Video and Creative Documentary Cinema Museum of Thessaloniki, Greece. Presented by Stephen Littman (9 to 13 October 2007)
Megapixel conference, Anglia Ruskin University, held at Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, UK. Definitive Stories: new forms of expression? presented by Steve Littman, University for the Creative Arts, and Peter E. Richardson, University of Dundee (10 and 11 October 2007)
National Review of Live Art: Definitive Stories screening programme, Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland, UK (premiere, February 2007)