Welcome to my new video: ‘dip to white‘, which I have submitted to CAZ’s, SQUARE EYES programme: Performance for Video Art. It will be screened next Saturday, 1st October, alongside 16 other artists from the South West of England, at the all-day-event marathon in the CAZ space, in the basement of the Exchange, Penzance.
This is my first short experimental film which I have used as an exercise to get to know my way around some new editing software. I am not sure if it really fits into the ‘performance for video’ category as I have manipulated it to look and feel more like something that has come out of my own studio, and in that sense, I think I will upset the purists amongst you. Technically, there is a performance and there is a video….but that’s just the beginning. However, it will form part of a larger project which explores ‘shadows’ as trace elements of human activity. In essence, as we pass through areas of light, our bodies momentarily block the passage of light creating a shadow that fills the void. In the context of this film, the water gives the shadow of a human figure (played by Anja) a fluidity of movement that distorts the image so that it no longer represents a true reflection but reveals a variety of new graphic possibilities. It transcends the visual theme and plays with the interaction and subtle nuances between lightness and darkness of being: brightness and reflected shadows; positive and negative energies / black and white.
As I worked through the editing process, the content began to reveal itself to me. The literal interpretation becomes abstracted into a meditation on how waves of energy are distorted: in water, light / air, and sound. The shadow itself is a displacement of light from the figure, a liquid slick of oil oozing into shapes the current of water makes by its movement. As eddies and ripples vibrate around the solid objects of figure and boulders, the energy of the reflection becomes integrated into the energy of the water. The air also vibrates with waves of sound, refracted in a collision of gurgles and laps, bouncing and bumping into each other as they too, eddy and ripple around objects in their flow.
The title, ‘dip to white’ – apart from the obvious allusion to a ‘dip’ in the water – is a metaphor for the flashes of sparkling light that bounce off the surface of the water creating a white-out. It also echoes the name for the ‘transition’ between clips in the editing process. Traditionally, water possesses magical and spiritual qualities, as well as being a female element. The surface of the water represents a boundary between this world and the next. Perhaps the reflection is the spirit of Ophelia, her arms once more moving in a rhythmic dance amongst the seaweed that swirls around her body, her innocence restored? “Her clothes spread wide, / And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up,” (from Hamlet, William Shakespeare).