Robinson in Ruins

I came across this in my final year of BA. I saw short excerpt but never went to the screening at the BFI as I didn’t really think it was relevant to my work at the time.

Jon Shapley mentioned it some weeks ago and also a few days later Gareth Polmeer.

I got the DVD a few weeks ago and watched it recently, after I’d submitted my research paper.

Another amazing coincidence (one of several which are cropping up with increasing frequency) is that Patrick Keiller was born in Blackpool !

The film is very complex and is only one part of an inter-institutional project  with Patrick Wright, Doreen Massey and Matthew Flintham. I  referenced Flintham’s PhD project , Parallel Landscapes, in my Research Paper. It focuses on militarised sites in the UK.

Doreen Massey discusses geography in a social/ esoteric ( not sure if I am using this word really correctly) and yet almost practical ( more common sense)  way.

I have her book For Space’ but really need to read it several times. It has changed my ideas of  ‘space’ completely  and is more accessible than Levefbre.( is that saying much?)

Included w ith the DVD of R in R  is a copy of Massey’s paper Landscape/ space/politics which I looked at briefly for my research paper. It  will need a closer read.

Patrick Keiller describes his work as being about ‘dwelling’, a settled agricultural past, its relationship to the English landscape and the development  of capitalism

There are so many points for discussion in the film but I’ll just highlight the things than are most relevant for me…. apart of course from the ones I’ve forgotten…

  • It is filmed in analogue film rather than digital
  • Keller uses a static camera and long takes with a combination of scenes in the mid- distance and close-ups.
  • Often, nothing much happens. There is the narration but it is sparse and slow.
  • There are elements of ‘myth’ regarding the content of the narration and the supposed character who has made the film.
  • It is filmed around the countryside of Oxfordshire and some is actually fairly close to my home! but not Croughton
  • It refers to RAF Upper Heyford and RAF Barford which are military bases associated with RAF Croughton.
  • It focusses on botanical elements as well as landscape and action, and dwelling within it and buildings.
  • The narration and the visual content move from subject to subject with the two not necessarily instantly recognised as related –a fragmentation
  • There are references and quotations within the narration …scattered.
  • It has an almost documentary format but elements of myth are juxtaposed .

In some ways I do wish I had seen this before I had written the paper as I may have extended the performative quality of the paper to echo this work.

There are many elements that I have included in my paper but, and I don’t know whether it is wise to admit it, I was not aware of this content and format before writing.

Also although here are so many similarities, I am actually thinking about very different things from Mr. Keiller…. or at least I think I am….?

For him the politics are paramount. For me, the politics are important but with a small ‘p’…I think..

Though in the past people have commented that my work is more political than I realise…

I started out thinking about collective memory but also ideology and the mythological associations of those.

I guess that’s pretty political…and once you start to talk about history whether personal or collective then there is a political element to that too.

EDIT November 2015:I looked at this as well The Robinson Institute, exhibition at the Tate 2012

 //players.brightcove.net/1854890877/4811b2e3-75b4-4489-b1a5-21a18a61075e_default/index.html?videoId=1618555241001

I found this quote but now I’m not sure where…The Mission Statement from the Institute : aims to promote political and economic change by developing the transformative potential of images of landscape

..

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rhiannon evans

I'm an MA student at Camberwell College of Art studying for MA Fine Art Digital. Thanks for looking

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