Janet Cardiff and George Miller

Considering Site Specific work I found that Janet Cardiff and George Miller‘s “Walks” a series of short films of walks.

The pair would go the same route time after time and discover the likelihood of occurrences so when the viewer is taken on the walk with a handheld tour it is an unusual experience for the viewer to have seen what is in the past.

The walks run on historical themes; the PS 1 Walk, 2001, is shortly after 9/11, but was filmed during the installation of other works into the Contemporary Art Museum in New York. The most recent is a walk in Germany, Alter Bahnhof Video Walk, starting in a train station, discussing the Jews who passed through the station during the war in the midst of the Haulocast; wrapping stories of the jewish people around stones (a sign of remembrance in the Jewish faith). The voice is very soft and slow, directing the viewer around showing you what they see; something that the viewer might have missed. It is almost like a tour guide, but touring the mind and thoughts of Janet using her own personal stories, for example, how she hates trains.

“How do people deal with memories they don’t want”

This theme of being alive, past and present is key throughout this piece of work; themes that working with film can do exquisitely. Having real time: what the viewer sees; past time: what the artist filmed; and the sense of being mortal: through the historical context of how the Jewish were guided to the trains to the death camps. Once on board the trains, they was no going back.

 

When I first saw this work, I loved the commentary of personal stories. As I am going into the community of the homeless and asking college students to photograph their own stories and lives I feel that this is inspiring. Perhaps being able to use film in my work to highlight the journeys people make around Hillfields. How they feel, what they see, what they’re thinking.

Already I have used a sound recorder from my walk through Hillfields, documenting the sounds of taxis, buses, people and the crunching of the leaves during the autumn. After reviewing mixed media through the summer, this is something I would like to consider more for this project. Although photography captures moments, the area of Hillfields lives on; hearing the same sounds, seeing the same monuments and places.

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