• Stepping in to the Spotlight

    Date posted: October 30, 2008 Author: jolanta
    The process of making is the starting point for my work, in which space
    and point of view have been longstanding concerns as has the (female)
    body. In my early short films and photographs I explored the relation
    between the body and domestic space. I worked with photomontage in You Be Mother, Milk, and Glass, and later in Swollen Stigma and Cast, with wide-angle point-of-view shots and a macro lens. Developed out of this, my films from Stages of Mourning
    onward have incorporated a performance that is important with regard to
    its symbolic and cathartic value. There is an existential element to
    the slow pacing of the performance that confronts the viewer (and
    performer) with what it means to be in front of a camera, where the
    moment is being marked as an image outside of time.
    Image

    Sarah Pucill

     

    Image
    Sarah Pucill, Stages of Mourning, 2004. Video still, video duration: 17 min. Courtesy of the artist.

    The process of making is the starting point for my work, in which space and point of view have been longstanding concerns as has the (female) body. In my early short films and photographs I explored the relation between the body and domestic space. I worked with photomontage in You Be Mother, Milk, and Glass, and later in Swollen Stigma and Cast, with wide-angle point-of-view shots and a macro lens. Developed out of this, my films from Stages of Mourning onward have incorporated a performance that is important with regard to its symbolic and cathartic value. There is an existential element to the slow pacing of the performance that confronts the viewer (and performer) with what it means to be in front of a camera, where the moment is being marked as an image outside of time. This approach to filmmaking runs counter to commercial film techniques, where the actual place of filming (the pro-filmic) is not only not repressed but is brought to the fore as a central characteristic of the film.

    Stages of Mourning tracks the loss of my late partner through a ritualized re-viewing and re-staging of scenes of the deceased from photographs, film projection, and monitor screen, which lie scattered in a domestic space. The chronology of the edited film echoes the shooting order of the filmmaking process. As such, the film traces a psychical journey of my relationship with the deceased. In a similar way the shooting order of Taking My Skin maps the final edit, and thus the relationship between my mother and myself is viewed chronologically. Through the course of the film, the experience of being both behind and in front of the camera is talked through as is pregnancy and bereavement. The camera journeys from tight close-up, to a blacked-out backdrop interior, a living room, and finally to the garden, and then outside the domestic setting. Spatially the camera suggests a movement of separation from the mother. Through a play with mirrors and interchange between camera operator and performer, spaces continuously dissolve and collapse.

    Blind Light, my most recent film, explores a play with space that journeys from the grounded reality of the here and now in a loft room, audibly represented through footsteps, birds, and traffic to a psychical space expressed through voice and abstraction as the camera zooms in toward the sky. Body and cavity, source and projection, interweave and swap place between room and camera, eyeball, aperture, sun, and moon.

    The film I am currently working on, Fall Awake, develops further the exploration of space, examining the interval between frames, past and present, real and virtual, interior and exterior. Fall Awake is structured around silence, a word that will be present through both the act of writing and its erasure.

    The process of making an image is what interests me. Yet within that, the questions of representation and of self-representation underscore the breadth of my work, whether that is via a negotiation of the feminine, the queer, or the dead.
     

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