Sunday, 11 April 2010

Sydney Southam

My practice involves working with the archive in the form of home movies shot on 16mm. I use this found footage featuring my own family and collage together images to instill a new meaning in them. The footage I work with is documentation of a part of my history, and yet this is a history that I was not present for. By reordering and re-editing the footage, I am instilling a new meaning into these images that is related to, but different from, the intent of the original camera person.

The footage serves as a very thorough document of specific times and places in my family’s history. The films I make from the footage also serves as a document; however it is a document of my own reaction to and reinterpretation of this footage. After watching and re-watching the hours and hours of this archive, I create my own sort of emotional archive, and archive of my understanding of these histories.

Some of the works are a reaction or response to past trauma that occurred within my family. One more recent work is about the nature of the family film, and how people decades ago would react very differently in front of a camera than people would today. The characters in these films are performing and acting for the camera, yet the films are a document of life in a way that a narrative film in the traditional sense is not. I am interested in the tension between the documentary and performative natures of the films.

The works I am making now are film based, but I also plan to move in to more painting and photography work as well as an attempt to insert myself and my hand even further into the works.

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