This project is a kind of retelling of a space using the language of
another very specific place, as if I am communicating in a foreign
language in order to describe my own language. Hopefully this
experiment will take me close to un-bundling the elements that make up
the narrative of a space.
This is the plan.
Last month I went to visit my parents who live in a small town in the
southern part of the North Island of New Zealand. This house is very
familiar to me because I lived there for the first 18 years of my life,
though since then I have not stayed more than a few days at a time. The
individual narratives of that house are therefore very familiar to me,
I know most of the stories behind every piece of furniture, most of the
objects and a certain amount about the way the spaces in that house are
inhabited. However, despite this familiarity it is also very foreign to
me. I do not live in a house like this myself, I do not live in a
suburban environment and my life is not structured around domestic
ritual in the same way that my parents do. I think this could be a very
interesting starting point for the experiment then.
I spend one day with a video camera trying to observe my parents as
they carry out daily rituals, eating, sleeping, cleaning teeth,
watching television. This is now my source material, I will relook at
the this footage to try and understand the narrative elements. So in
the next few days I will cut together this footage. I'm thinking the
best way to view it would be project it slightly larger than life and
slightly slower than life, that way the domestic reality should become
less important than the form and the individual elements of movement.
Once I have this to present in some form, I'd like to try putting the
elements into another context altogether. I have a few ideas around
this, but will speak to a few people about what might be a good way of
Perhaps this could be:
rebuilding some of the spaces on a different scale
representing the spaces with other objects
representing the characters with performers
replaying the domestic rituals with pure movement
Happy to find collaborators that might be interested in exploring some of this.
Here is some raw footage, a simple pan of their house. A piece of observed behavior at the lunch table which has been slowed down a little to devalue the dialogue over the action.
This is my mother, Janice, and my father, George, sitting in front of the television at the end of the night where they often doze on and off before going to bed.
And lastly here is a collection of objects that from my parents house. Most of them were gifts of some sort, a few originally belonged to one of us four children.