Last week, London-based artist Suki Chan spent 5 days conducting interviews and filming for her new work Memory, which will be shown during Somerset Art Weeks Festival (21 September – 6 October). Part of our County of Contrasts programme, Suki is commissioned to develop work to explore the unseen and hidden aspects of Somerset.
Suki proposed making a short film exploring memories and place; ‘Drawing upon the stories of pilots living in Somerset, MEMORY takes the audience on a visual and aural journey from the axons and neurons found inside brains to the distinctive topography of Somerset.’ Chan’s distinctive aesthetic investigates and connects the micro and the macro.
Since April, Suki has carried out extensive research – she visited a number of potential filming locations and made contact with our partners and individuals. To gain access and filming permission wasn’t easy, particularly drone filming which potentially impacts on the conservation work in some sites. However, Suki was welcomed by the wonderful team of staff and volunteers from WWT Steart Marshes, they offered a tremendous amount of support throughout the project. We are also extremely pleased that we gained permission and assistance from Cheddar Gorge and Caves.
In order to bring local knowledge and engage with expertise from Somerset, Suki put together a team of professionals from all around the county, including drone operator Ed Stone; cameraman Jesse Roth; focus puller Triain Tulbure and shoot assistant Ben Wood who is supported by our Artist Development Programme. Considering none of them have worked together before Suki was extremely pleased with what they achieved, and without a hitch! Suki is grateful for all the support from the team: ‘long takes with a 5kg camera rig held at just above eye level whilst walking uphill was demanding but the team was very enthusiastic.’ The schedule and timing were strictly followed, otherwise delay may cause complications, especially shooting outdoor in the unpredictable weather!
It was Suki’s first experience of drone filming, a totally different experience from her previous projects. It required close communication between the team. Suki exclaimed, ‘Filming with the drone was an amazing experience. You see the world in a different way. The change in perspective and scale can be quite disorientating.’
During the busy shooting schedule, Suki also visited Westonzoyland Airfield to meet Robbert Turner from Westonzoyland Aviation Museum and Ex-RAF pilot David Linney. In his audio interview conducted by Suki, David shared some extraordinary stories about his early memories, his interest in flying and his love of vintage airplanes.
Suki is an artist who never chooses to do anything easy, her ambition and vision is clearly reflected in her work. She embraces challenges and brings the best of her ability, knowledge and experience to the project. We can’t wait to see her final work during Somerset Art Weeks.
Memory will be showing at Somerset Film, Bridgwater during Somerset Art Weeks Festival (21 September – 6 October)
More about the project : somersetartworks.org.uk/memory
Published on June 6, 2019 // Sarah Adey