Film made with Pauline Thomas. Poem: Tami Haaland, sound: Stephen Kemper with poem by Briony Bennett / sound piece: Angela Rawlings and Sachiko Murakami.
I visited Pauline in hospital, where she was undergoing treatment for an incurable cancer and I asked her to collaborate with me in making a film about air.
She said she loved Rilke’s Breath, Invisible Poem and she’d be keen to explore the idea of the last breath. I replied ‘for me the film would inevitably be about your last breath.
‘That’s fine’. She shrugged. ‘All my work explores mortality, time passing, and the fragility of life.’
We made the film Air. Then we made Water. Though by this time she was not so present.
Pauline died in January 2016
REATH, INVISIBLE POEM
You who let yourselves feel: enter the breathing
that is more than your own.
Let it brush your cheeks
As it divides and rejoins beside you.
Blessed ones, whole ones,
you where the heart begins:
You are the bow that shoots the arrows
and you are the target
Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back
into the earth
for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.
The trees you planted in childhood have grown
too heavy. You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Sonnets to Orpheus, Part One, IV
2013 to 2016 Elemental Dialogues was a project based around my research on interpretation and translation. Over the years films representing the elements were sent out to international sound and word artists who created interpretations. Our intention when making the films was not revealed to them – thus their poetry and sound pieces were true interpretations as they saw it. Without titles and audio how much of the original ‘point of view’ of a film be evident to the viewer after interpretation. Would the point of view of subsequent artists nullify the original intent? With whose voice would the film now speak? I proposed to repeatedly present the films within installations, each time with different music, sounds and poetry in order to investigate the viewer’s reading of meaning and intention.
For there’s no one truth, there are only competing stories.
Mulitple installations, performances and screenings of Air: Drawing Breath and Water: A Balancing Act include the James Turrell Skyspace, Tremenheere, Cornwall, Mottisfont National Trust, St John on Bethnal Green London, End of the Road Café Helston Cornwall. Winchester Film Festival (best art film award), Stroud Film festival, Globe Road Poetry Festival. Installations performances and weekend workshops were held in The Manor Hemingford Grey (the oldest continually inhabited house in England) and also in my house with Gabriel Galvez and Melanie Rose, Joan McGavin, Claire Hillier and Dr Jenny Chamarette.
A Space for Peace: Winchester Cathedral – Holocaust Memorial Day – A site specific projection of Air accompanied by a performance by the dancer Gabriel Galvez; created especially to commemorate and celebrate the life of Pauline Thomas who died that week.
Kindly supported by City Eye.