Bridget Smith: Monitoring Space, 2005 - Audiovisual
A frequent theme that runs through my artwork is our desire to be “elsewhere”, alongside a need to feel connected: within society, the landscape and the wider universe. That sentiment has taken on a new meaning and intensity in recent months.
For this programme I have chosen the first two documentary films that I made. Both centre on a lone, male figure set within an interior space but whose gaze and thoughts are firmly set elsewhere.
Monitoring Space (2005) was filmed at the Mills Observatory, Dundee, Britain’s first purpose built public observatory. I spent numerous winter evenings waiting in vain for the weather to clear so that the telescope might be put to use observing the night sky. This disappointment, however, turned into an opportunity to understand the place and its significance in a way that most likely would not have surfaced otherwise. We come to see outer space not through the telescope but through the eyes of Robert Law, the main character in the film, whose passion for all things space-related offers a different perspective of life on earth.
Killing Time (2007) was filmed in the isolated East Cape of New Zealand’s North Island. Here, possum trapper Mark Hutchings sits in his cabin amidst lush landscape and recounts his life living and working in the bush, vast swathes of which are inhospitable and inaccessible. As with Monitoring Space, we come to know this impenetrable landscape through Mark’s narrative. He conjures up a place and a sense of purpose that forms through his particular telling. What is in the past and what is in the present is frequently unclear, but ultimately can be seen as a strategy for survival itself.
What connects these two very different characters and their locations is the way that they are able to light up the space between where they are and where they would like to be.
Click on title to view
Monitoring Space, 2005
Killing Time, 2007
Video projection 4:3 ratio
14 mins 30 sec
© Bridget Smith. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means.