Barge Ideaal

I’m waiting at the gate to let people onto Lots Ait island. Every forty seconds a droning plane overhead comes in to land at Heathrow. Lights flashing, passenger portholes visible I think of Bladerunner. Soon I join the audience and I’m in a mellow mood this evening.

Barge Ideaal is another remarkable context, this time converting a home to public theatre. The films presented are wide-ranging in style and intent and I have seen some of them before. This gives me a privileged opportunity to reflect and consider. I try to avoid the restrictions of comparison and value judgement. There are actions and re-actions, no fantasies or fictions. As performer and/or image-maker each artist is both producer and protagonist, the locus at the moment of event. Nevertheless interpretation is inevitable and I’m beginning to notice recurring themes. Transport in all its meanings emerges for me as a key trope across the collection.

So what do I make of Dan Shipsides’ Coir’a’Ghrundda, someone wrestling with his demons? It seems to coincide with Difference Screen’s recent return from Mongolia, where the echoes and practices of the shamanic tradition and the passage into other states of being are real. I think of Pere Jules wrestling with his drunken visions on the barge l’Atalante. In Adad Hannah’s “Russian KAMA3” maybe the visceral endurance of a deliberate physical act is also a form of karmic passage. For some reason I hold my breath waiting to see how it will end. It does without change, when the shutter closes. I didn’t even see him blink but imagine the collapse of his body off-screen in relief. In contrast Paulina Salminen’s film “8 Crossings” moves and breaths effortlessly in a continuous stream of human resignation, where the contradiction of motionlessness whilst in motion may be the routine journey of least resistance in a hard world, and most thoughts are private and silent. And who hasn’t travelled on a train in that suspended time watching the lens of rain pass across the window. Miraculously in Alexander Hahn’s “Shades of Gray” some of the water droplets move tracing minute viscous rivers, and some don’t, but all the droplets invert and change our view just the same.


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2 Comments on “Barge Ideaal

  1. Hi Novvy,
    Interesting to connect connect my work to the shamanistic. Even though many of my works are quite formally focused on disturbing the visually constructed landscape image – I do also think that there is a desire to make some form of open ritual through doing that. Our relationship to landscape might be in a very everyday sense potentially one of ritual and a desire to ‘be’ beyond what’s presented as a given. Thanks for the comments. Still not sure what you make of Coir’a’Ghrundda but glad it sparked a reaction! For me it’s like the after-noise of feedback once the band has stopped playing.

  2. Hi Dan
    I liked Coir’a’Ghrundda but also was disturbed for the well-being of the protagonist especially as I’m afraid of unending heat and dryness. But thinking about it right now, emotions drenched in cold winter rain day after day, I’m not sure which state I really would prefer.
    Sorry for slow response

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