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I work with the found image as an act of reclamation and re-interrogation. My focus is the documentary image or rather the image as document.
Inspired by Hito Steyerl’s suggestion that the 21st century image has been impoverished by its deployment as informational shorthand, my approach highlights ambiguities, repetitions, resonances in the given documentary image specifically to open up new meaning via the dynamic interplay between voice and image offered by the essay film form.
Essay film is rooted in experimentation (from French essai, a weighing up, an attempt – a propositional form). My approach is grounded in experimental proposition. The conscious revelation of process that is central to my work reveals the humanised image, one that works to counter this century’s informational image. Essay film is necessarily about dialogue, what enables dialogue and what silences its potential. Via the histories and elisions that found footage expresses, I work to create interplay between voice, text and image to question the narration of history and individual memory and the relationship between voice and authority.
I’m ambitious for the essay film as a form to offer vital open cultural space. My approach is multi-voiced, consciously diachronically resonant in image, determinedly collaborative, inclusive. Installation of finished work is designed to involve audiences so that watching becomes presence and action.
Via an analysis of modern visual framing I aim to reveal what limits and frees perception, while deploying the fluidity of the form to argue for cinema’s potential, a cinema of ideas.
Sarah Wood, Memory of the Future, 2018. Two screen installation.
‘The Cambridge Show’ brings together work by twenty-two artists who live or work in and around Cambridge. Showcasing a cross-section of the artistic community operating in the local area, from photography to performance, the exhibition will explore these artists’ diverse practices, and some of the themes and issues that they are engaging with right now.
Here is Elsewhere is a new work in two parts by artist-filmmaker Sarah Wood, that was commissioned by Kettle’s Yard during the 2020 lockdown.
Images: Sarah Wood, Memory of the Future, 2018. Film still. Courtesy the artist.