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Artist talk 5.2.2010, Ritz

Jenny Baines | Artist in residence February and July 2010

Jenny Baines’ artistic practice exists in various forms that are all intrinsically linked by hope and the possibility of failure. When making films, Jenny performs repetitive actions for the camera, documenting herself carrying out apparently futile yet defiant physical feats. These actions can seem like a romantic response to, or an urge to escape from the space in which they are performed. The works are process-based, using the limitations of the equipment or her own physical endurance as a basis and frame in which to be created. The repetitively performed action is often absurd or pointless.

Examples of work include the film Untitled, Victoria Park, in which she attempts to climb a lamppost before the wind-up mechanism of the 16mm Bolex camera runs down, which is never possible as the film cuts before she can achieve this. And ‘Against the Tide’, where she swims against a tide too strong for her, resulting in being continuously washed out of the frame. The resulting films become absurd attempts to achieve pointless tasks.

Jenny graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art MFA in 2006. Her work has been exhibited at the Istanbul Biennial (2007) and other venues outside the UK in New York, Warsaw, Berlin, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Film screenings include Studio 1.1, London, Format Film Festival, Derby and Videoholica, Bulgaria. Her work is to be found in various collections including Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, QUAD and Videoholica, Bulgaria. Jenny is currently an artist in residence in film at Kingston University.

“The films I shot when artist in residence at Platform deal with the same concerns in my practice and are made using the same techniques.

Mergere (working title) is from various locations (both in and close to Vaasa) where I filmed people ice-swimming. Using the wind-up mechanism of the 16mm camera, I was attempting to time the filming of each person entering the water so it would wind down and cut as they submerged, hoping for the result of the film showing a constant flow of people disappearing into the ice.

Rather than performing the action repetitively myself, I was more interested in the place, framing and observing of an action that was already happening naturally in front of me over and over. This was for practical reasons also.

I made a series of almost photographic films both in February and in July – where the films are a static shot of something I found slightly absurd. For example, a motor boat frozen into the sea and a lighthouse flashing at night. The only movement, other than that of the film, is of either snow blowing past in the first instance, or the light faintly flashing in the second.

On viewing the material on return I’m interested in combining architectural elements with some – bringing the film into the room with the viewer so they exist as an installation. In the case of Mergere, this would work well if projected floor to ceiling in a room with a white floor so the viewer could almost step into the image.


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