Iona Roisin - Tentativities
My Kuvan Kevät piece is still very much in progress; so I don’t do too much doubling up my artist statement is here.
I’ve been struggling with how to approach this work on and off for 3-4 years now. Originally I made a short film about my brother Iain and I from footage I’d shot on my iPhone of him/us/stuff in my parent’s house where he still lives. There was no voice over, but subtitles throughout which I had thought would be less emotional/confrontational. It was just bad all round. Badly edited, badly written, problematic, cringe etc.
Given that the work is personal it’s somewhat inevitable that I wouldn’t be able to drop it completely, but I didn’t know how to begin to try and make a second version without just perpetuating all of the same issues. Like I thought I was being so harsh and honest but really it was just sentimental whining, resulting in a big self-centred mess, my feelings, my guilt, my embarrassments blah blah. Not that I’m saying there can’t be value in that, but at this moment I’m not capable of turning that into something with clarity.
Coming to the realisation that it’s not possible to neatly conclude this work and that there won’t be a resolution has been freeing, in a way. There’s less pressure to make this ‘perfect’ piece that summarises a complicated and ongoing situation in such a short time. I also assume I will revisit this multiples times over my life, and that’s ok, the piece will and should change. I’m not usually so precious with my work but this is something I have been concerned with ‘getting wrong’, especially because there is such an added level of responsibility when you are working with/about someone else, I really don’t want to do some of the things I have been critical of in the works of others and I don’t wanna be a dick to my brother.
I had been quite hung up on what ‘story’ I was supposed to or wanted to tell, like how much backstory is needed and all that. Once I thought to try to incorporate the problems I was facing into the work it became easier. And by problems I mean issues to do with consent and representation and biography. I do think partially that to make a work like this that is trying to be so conscious of it’s form runs the risk of not really doing much or coming across as a bit defensive on my part, but it could also be a sensible way to tone down the emotionality with many of the issues I was interested in initially still remaining implicit in the piece.
So with this next version I had been struggling to establish what form it should take, whether or not it should deviate from a single-channel/single-screen type of thing and be more spatially fragmented. Perhaps fragments of footage displayed in various, non-linear ways and then an intermittent voice-over into the space, although in a degree show setting you want it to be simple enough without having to compromise what is needed for the work, y’know cuz there is so much stuff there, other noise and competing factors. Of course if this work turns out to be like an hour long that will be the complete opposite of what I just said… I’m pretty much settled on a single screen installation now though but there are still 22 days until we begin installation and a lot can happen in that time sooo…
The work was shot over three days, again at my parent’s house, with just me and Iain hanging out or me bugging him. It was all shot very loosely and spontaneously; I didn’t make exact plans because I couldn’t anticipate how my brother would feel or what he would want to do. I think this will all be quite visible and will be translated through the work’s kind of meandering. I shot about 3 hours of footage and also have a tonne of writing from over the years. I have gone through all the footage and edited it down to half that amount but I still need to trim it down further. I can’t expect people to invest the time into a long piece of work when I know there’s like a 90% chance I wouldn’t do the same because I am lazy and disinterested… or can I ~smiling devil emoji~
During my preliminary editing process I decided I would not write a voice over for this work. Which makes me nervous as hell, not because I’m a control freak (err) but mainly because the text is always the best bit in my work and if I don’t have that will my work suck? There’s just so much talking on the footage, when I watch it back I’m shouting shut up at myself and chucking popcorn at the screen. Like will I still be able to control what I’m trying to convey and are my editing skills decent enough to communicate any of this? I’ve never made a work in this way before, by the time I get to the editing process I normally know what I’m doing and why, I’ve never had to be very “““creative””” with editing. Also normally I’m trying to stretch 3 minutes of footage into a 6 minute film so… Time to start playing I guess.