Unstable Landscapes

(Video: 17.48 mins )

Jen Southern
BridA residency, Sempas, Slovenia.

Excerpts of the video work:
Movement 1 (1min)
Movement 2 (1 min)
Movement 3 (1 min)

Unstable Landscapes is the outcome of a short residency with BridA in Sempas, Slovenia, in May 2017.  During the residency I placed GoPro cameras and GPS devices on kites flown by local young people in Sempas, on a pair of dogs walked in the local hills above, and on a kite that I flew on nearby fallow strips of field below.

The work builds on a practice of tracking and tracing of movement, and a translation of those movements into visual works and develops my interest in the co-production of relational landscapes, through the activities that take place in them. By sharing the activity of filming the work became a portrait of Sempas made by the actions of local people, animals, wind currents, field and footpath networks and ponds.

Made roughly a month before Brexit negotiations started, the instability of familiar landscapes and their relationships to each other was always present. Through working with collaborators I gave up some of the control over the camera to a dog or a kite so that the film was directed by scent, footpath, wind, and weather, and immersed in landscape rather than being carefully composed in a static framing of a view.  The resulting videos reframe and rediscover landscape through movement and activity rather than the notion of a specific viewpoint or the picturesque. The landscape was reframed as one that is constantly in motion in relation to the lives and activities that happen within it. The shift in movement, from a body or form moving through a static landscape, to a static agent surrounded by a moving environment emphasises the notion of an unstable landscape in constant flux.

Movement One was filmed by young people and combines slow motion video captured by the sweeping gesture of the flying kite, and real time footage that empasises the frictions of the ground and the rhythms of the body in producing kite flying or dog walking. Movement Two uses side by side screens to show how two dogs move together and separately during a walk, running and pausing, moving in and out of synchronization. Movement Three uses slow motion footage filmed from a kite that seems suspended in a landscape warped by the gopro lense and its movement in relation to local weather conditions.

The work re-uses kites made for ‘Searcher’ with a Mountain Rescue Team in Cumbria, UK, and commisioned by Abandon Normal Devices festival, 2015. Imagery on the kites is taken from a GoPro camera mounted on a rescue dogs back during a training exercise.

Commissioned by:
RoR program run by BridA
Mestna Ocina Nova Gorica
Krajevna skupnost Sempas


image © BridA
With thanks to:
Dea, Ace and Mojca
All the kite flyers in Sempas
Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University.
image © BridA
image © BridA
                                                 image © BridA