Sunday 12 June 2016, 2:00pm
71 Eyre Lane
Sheffield S1 4RB
“In the end, we’ll all become stories. Or else we’ll become entities. Maybe it’s the same.” – Margaret Atwood
People need stories. Atwood’s relation of ‘stories’ to ‘entities’ seems apt in relation to the process of filmmaking, and to documentary footage in particular. Once the camera stops rolling, every piece of documentary footage, recorded for its ‘story’, instantly becomes an entity independent from the immediate and ongoing trajectory of the actual. Once ingested and imported into a timeline, the footage becomes part of a new community of files, and a component of a new entity: the film authored by the filmmaker.
In several of the films presented here, traces of the process of ingestion appear purposefully: the grain of film, the click of a tape. Elsewhere, food recurs as a motif: eggs, potatoes, and cookies appear symbolically, reminders that media components are not the only objects humans ingest to survive and that the mind is inextricably linked to the body. The interpretation of information is fundamentally a very physical process, which is just as much at risk of corruption or obsolescence as any audiovisual data.
These stories are individual, often idiosyncratic, yet acutely conscious of the landscapes and lives surrounding them. The narrator in Daniel Jacoby’s Jagata remarks ‘Maybe it’s impossible to grasp the world through the lens of your own life’; after all, it is no more considered possible for one person to articulate the whole world in a single story, than to physically breach a glass lens without destroying it. But as is abundantly shown here, from such a vantage point, the narrative possibilities are infinite. – Esther Harris
Selected by Esther Harris, media conservator and archivist based in London.
Somewhere in the middle of Hokkaido, lives a man with an inexplicable bond to a potato. Unwilling to be found yet at the same time yearning to reach out, the enigmatic story of his proximity to a root plant is told through the few unaddressed letters he decides to send out. Images of unrelated landscapes, situations and objects that the artist encounters on the way acquire an otherworldly aura when presented in the context of the potato-man.
Wandering through the body puzzling out a system of symbols. The trouble is, affect resists signification outright. The inside and outside become muddled when you start to feel your body in relation to an image.
Logging and approximating a relationship between audio recordings of my father and videos gathered of the landscapes we have both separately traversed. The initial distance between the logger and the recordings, of recollections and of songs, new and traditional, narrows while the images become an expanding semblance of filial affect. Jáaji is a near translation for directly addressing a father in the Hočak language.
A young Japanese woman tells the memory of her sister who passed away a few months ago.
And you love that humid atmosphere/ And you look so lush under glass.
Cave is a response to rural Northumberland. Sound recordings were made there with residents and visitors on small red audio-units. In the video a hand plays these as monologues. Forced together, the voices become a fictitious community, though a sense of isolation persists. As the light fades they take on other connotations; stars, souls, cities – though these romantic readings are undercut by the ordinariness of the speech they transmit.
Filmmaker Scott Willis discovers Andy, a self-proclaimed communist revolutionary who documents his life on a Hi-8 camcorder. Aiming to understand the purpose behind the tapes Willis picks up his camera. However, Andy has his own agenda for the project. Tapes From The Revolutionary, is a short documentary that asks the question: what is like to see the world of another? Nominated for Channel 4 Innovation in Storytelling, winner of the Ideas Tap Film award associated with BAFTA 2015.