HEART OF HAWICK, ROOM 205
THURSDAY 27 – SUNDAY 30 APRIL
11:00 – 16:00 / 13′ (looped)
by Rachael Disbury
Maybelle Peters’s Conserving Matter is part of an ongoing project in which the London-based artist documents views of her home, a street where Victorian housing is preserved. Presented here as a newly configured triptych for Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, the work surveys the contingencies of an exterior world from the interior perspective of an apartment window. The film expands Peters’s interest in mythmaking, and in gleaning stories from objects, personal rituals and archiving ephemera, gestures and sounds.
Each of the three films here has been captured using the camera’s automatic focus, a setting that allows the recording device to dictate terms, playfully complicating the film’s gaze and authorship, as well as the relationship between the artist, the artist’s material surroundings, and the decision-making features of the digital apparatus.
As the three channels, which unfold and loop concurrently, are all different lengths, the configuration never repeats itself – reflecting the broader interplay of sameness and variation within the work. The synchronicity of the three channels evokes themes of visual data competing for attention, while echoing the nature of Conserving Matter’s production – observation as method, and the combination of human agency (what is looked at) and mechanised automation (what information is prioritised). Likewise, the triptych’s broader soundscape never repeats itself – even while its persistent, cacophonous clangs suggest a uniform experience.
The durational nature of this exhibition invites viewers to contemplate the relationships between exteriority and interiority, between action and incident, between the eye and the lens, between information and data, and between on- and off-screen space. Within the compositions and textures of each channel, we catch the lens fluidly alternate between preferencing construction apparatus over trees and leaves – the surface of the window through which the action is observed (or reflected) made visible at points and disappearing at other points – creating a blend of the natural and the manufactured.