Artist Nicola Saunderson and I have been chatting about our different approaches to surveying a site. Hers is organised and disciplined – pseudo scientific – whereas mine is instinctive and based around visual moments that intrigue me.
Inspired by her approach I surveyed a new trip last week, filming the entire thing and then taking still shots at set intervals, creating a very different experience for me. Once tactics are decided they simply need to be enacted, leaving me feeling somewhat detached from the experience and not connected as fully to the site surveyed. However, surveying this way feels like a valuable starting tactic, documenting what’s where and trapping stuff I might previously have missed – a baseline from which to repeat survey more closely.
The first cut of the Song of the Train is a good basis from which to move forward but probably not a finished product. Its tactics of stills sliding somewhat awkwardly into moving image is strong, although perhaps the stills should be apparent not actual.
Site has relevance, although this isn’t necessarily tied to where the train is travelling to and from. What IS key is the emotional impact the experience evokes. This means the titling of the work needs re-visiting.
Next: make a series of short films, each investigating something specific, such as:
Light / shadow
Reflection / layering
People waiting for a train
Meeting of architecture and nature
Shots that appear still but aren’t
Dislocating motion that feels somewhat wrong such as the curve round a bend