"To travel is very useful: it makes the imagination work; the rest is just delusion and pain. Our journey is entirely imaginary, which is its strength." – The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), 2013, directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain.
Messina Cathedral, Sicily.
Old Town, Corfu.
These are but three locations that I wish to explore, observe and respond to.
Last year, I found eight tapes. These tapes were not recognised as ones recorded by my own family as they were not labelled or numbered. When transferring the footage onto my computer, I found that they held memories of strangers. Strangers that were now in my own home. The faces were not familiar, nor were they intruding. Well-spoken, rich in experiences and knowledge, the owners of the tapes were an elderly couple who appear to have loved travelling, exploring and understanding different cultures.
But, I had an overwhelming sense of obligation.
An obligation to keep the original footage, not erase or tape over it. I am now completely and utterly consumed by the tapes that I have spent hours watching whilst my laptop “screen records” and saves them onto my hard drive. I feel as though I need to act upon my findings. Therefore, my intention is to go to the places that they saw and retrace their footsteps. Recording my own experiences and responses to the tapes which have now become my triggers, I wish to create work that will fuse both past and present, old and new. Ultimately, I want to understand the shifts, gaps and moments that form when following the parameters set within the tape’s original footage.
They spent much of their time recording and documenting their “holidays” but I feel that this is something that needs to be acknowledged and appreciated given the potential that it has as a spark in which to ignite my practice. I want to allow their efforts to grow and the memories to become something of ‘now’, rather than ‘then’.
Space has continued to be an extremely important factor within my work and the opportunity to take up residency in such locations would be an ideal way of branching beyond my comforts and allow me to see the possibilities within spaces and places beyond the UK.
My aim is to take three separate trips. Each trip would be for a 5-day duration and I would locate myself central to the places in which are evidenced in the tape recordings. On the day of my arrival, I will explore the area and choose a spot in which I will loyally return to every day (inspired by the work of T.J. Clark, The Sight of Death) for the duration of the trip. Writing, drawing, documenting through photography and film, I will collect an archive of information. On my return, I will write a report on my time spent at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Messina in Sicily and Old Town, Corfu. Not only will my research and documentation of my time revolve around the practical works that I have created whilst there, but also draw comparisons to the tapes that I have stored and spent so much of my time watching and admiring.
Although they are not my memories, they are still memories, visual memories, documented and treasured that deserve recognition.