Friday, 14 May 2010


The subtitle of our project is 'Moving Images of Climate Change'. We want to change existing (media) images of climate change, because they often focus upon climate impacts, and we want to use moving image as a medium to do this. We want to use bodies in movement in our moving images.

But, the most profound image of the last few weeks has been related to the lack of movement. I mean, grounded planes, not moving, no movement in the skies. How odd that the planes don't fly. How wonderful that they don't. Stillness and lack of movement can also make us think, reflect and question. Where does this leave us in relation to movement in our artwork?


  1. Oh yes, the stillness in the skies! The volcanic eruption in Iceland couldn't have been more timely, in a way. It's done a lot. These are some of the things it's made me think about:

    How many people have had to face up to and accept the fact that what happens "over there" and what happens "right here where I am" are in fact inextricably linked. I've quite enjoyed the sense of irritation and anger about the fact that a small volcano on a small island in the north Atlantic can cause such prolonged and pervasive interruptions to everyday living.

    The image of ERUPTION is so perfect - something has burst through the skin of an accepted way of being able to live in northwest Europe, and caused us to look at that differently...

    The skies changed, and then aeroplanes were made strange again. I don't know about you, but when flights resumed after the first eruption, it was so so strange to see these metal objects in flight in the sky again. The volcano made something with which we are so familiar totally uncanny, totally unfamiliar, totally strange...

  2. What does stillness stand for? What does stasis stand for?


  3. Remember that when we first spoke about working on this project together I was interested in the film They Shoot Horses Don't They?

    The film depicts the dance marathons of the American depression of the 1930s, in which people would literally dance themselves to exhaustion and sometimes even death in order to try to win a cash prize.

    I was interested in this spectacle of physical exertion and relentless movement (eventually leading to stillness) in the context of an economic catastrophe (we were talking about this right after the financial meltdown of 2008). I compared this image (of human bodies dancing themselves to exhaustion as a way to survive) to the iconic - and as you say problematic - image of polar bears swimming further and further distances between receding ice floes. In this image, an animal body has to keep moving - often to the point of exhaustion and death - in order to deal with an environmental catastrophe caused by climate change.

    Your post about the stilling of flights has returned me to thinking about this, about the fact that all movement starts from or leads to stillness; that stillness and stasis has always been a metaphor for death, about the death of something, about ending something.

    It's also made me think about the rhythm of consumption that drives capitalist economies, rhythms of "more bigger faster more cheaper now".

    The stillness of the skies highlights the "more bigger faster more cheaper now" attitude to flying, and marked - thrillingly, brilliantly, beautifully - an interruption of that rhythm, a literal silencing and stilling of the sky.

    So it's great that you're thinking about stillness, as I think that takes us right back to one of my starting points for this project: the image of moving, moving, moving, until it's not possible to move any more, until the only option is to change or to stop.

  4. I've just re-read our discussion on stillness as opposed to movement. You say that movement and stasis are interlinked. I love this. So, it's not about one or the other, but about making the connections between the two. Given that we want to make artworks that question our perceptions, what about playing with the relationship between movement and stillness. So, in an environment where people are moving (eg. on the street), we make them stop for a moment and be still. Or vice versa; in a context where people may be still or moving slowly (eg. exhibition), we make them move, or we convey movement through the artwork.

    This would also link to the fact that ecosystems are always in flux and movement, but we don't always have the necessary conceptual tools or framework for understanding this -capitalism is in a supposedly linear movement about progress and acquisition; ecosystems are in cyclical movements which work on different timescales, with many feedback loops and uncertainties. So, it goes back again to time: how time is conceived differently within western human cultures (linear time) to environmental time (which is cyclical and in flux). For the artwork to make us think differently, playing with concepts of movement and stillness will necessarily also engage with concepts of time - which is what we have always wanted the artworks to do.