The ikono On Air Festival is showing Above the Skyline by Tessa Garland. The film presents a deserted stage set depicting a grim prospect of a lonely, future with nothing but memories. Built entirely in miniature, the detailed film set invites the viewer to piece together the profile of an absent person. With its use of scale and filmic devices Above the Skyline plays with illusion and explores the tension between theatricality and reality. Light and sound have been fused together to create an external energy that leads the camera through the model and creates an atmosphere of surveillance and menace B Movies and early science fiction films that work with notions of the everyday and collective fear have influenced the work.
I originally trained as a sculptor but for many years my work has become preoccupied with the moving image. Cinematic language allows me to explore and create places by piecing and layering together footage of journeys through spaces, these journeys I lace with feelings of uncertainty.
I tend of focus on a place, landmark or idea and work with it over a long period of time, allowing it to grow in significance. This immersive process of working can lead to creating a sense of claustrophobia or the feeling of being taken over that feeds back into the work.
My unconventional style of working perhaps seems closer to a painter than a film maker. I often build scale models or work on photographs to help me to understand my subjects. Models are filmed using many different formats of camera and carefully lit using coloured studio lighting. Numerous video inserts are created and worked upon during the editing process, so that there is a real sense of layering and montage. Sound is also vital to the work and once meshed with the imagery form atmospheric, often dreamlike work that is reminiscent of a memory or a premonition.
My work intentionally references Science Fiction films of the 1950’s and 60’s where the layering and construction of the film making process are evident. I enjoy adapting low budget techniques drawn from this genre and use such devices in an exaggerated way to evoke a heightened sense of unease or suspense.
I have shown my work at the ICA and the Whitechapel Gallery London, Spacex Gallery Exeter, Les Inattendus Lyons, MACVAL Contemporary Art Musuem and Rencontres International Paris, France.
I am the co-curator and co organiser for the international moving image event ‘Visions in the Nunnery’, The Nunnery Gallery, London. I have been in receipt of numerous arts grants and awards both to develop my own practice and to curate and organise exhibitions and events across the UK.”
- Homepage of Tessa Garland : www.tessagarland.com
- Tessa Garland on Vimeo
- Tessa Garland on Flickr
- Tessa Garland on Youtube
Other Videos by Tessa Garland
Karrajong Heights (2013)
Karrajong Heights is a work in response to a trip I made to East Coast Australia earlier this year.
It examines the almost visceral mutation from day into night, the transition from the repressed energy of the suburban day into the extraordinary patterns and screams of the raw natural environment at night.
As the heat of the day fades away from this utopian suburbia, lights go on, worlds start to shrink and local media spreads like a virus into homes, relentlessly hawking its message ‘the boogie man is real’.
Not Far From Here
Single Screen video HD 5:00 minutes
Not Far From Here combines live action and animation. The work is staged around a suburban house and a domestic shed set within a wooded area.
The video is a non linear work that evades narrative and works more as a montage with the central character appearing and disappearing through its various locations. During the sequence, the banality of the suburban setting is interrupted by a parallel world suggesting an alternative reality and one which is charged with psychic activity.
Not Far From Here is an atmospheric piece that embraces techniques found in both filmmaking and theatre. The layered passage of imagery uses strong lighting, constructed sets, special effects and sound to build a dreamlike world that blurs the boundaries of fiction and reality.
No 1 Wilwyne Crescent
No 1 Wilwyne Crescent takes the viewer on a short walk around a suburban model house. The atmosphere of oppressive safety is broken by a surreal and other worldly force that lurks within the confines of the greenhouse. The idea of theatricality and artifice is prominent in the work. Early science fiction films such as The Day of the Triffids and Revenge of the Bodysnatchers that play with notions of the everyday and collective fear have influenced the work.
This supermarket horror film is based on George Romero’s 1960′s cult film ‘Night of the Living Dead’. In ‘Zombie’, an ordinary supermarket becomes a film set, where the shoppers become unsuspecting actors in a short but climatic horror sequence.
‘Zombie’ was shot on a mobile phone camera which gives the film its style of part surveillance, part disposable and throw away.