I’ve just finished writing this for the Flaneur Arts Blog who contacted me after reading the Telegraph article earlier this week . .
Stay the Same by Sam Firth
I currently live on the most remote peninsular in Britain and for the last eight months of my life I have gone to exactly the same spot each day on the shore of a sea loch surrounded by mountains at exactly the same time and filmed myself for my film Stay the Same. The light has changed as has the weather, the tides, the seasons and I have been changing too. The film documents this change whilst also hopefully making apparent the things we cannot. The frailty of the human body and continuos marching of time. I hope the film will do other things too, but I won’t know that until it is finished.
My filming routine, which means I cannot leave here for longer than a day, has shaped my life for this year and this is partly what the film documents. At times I have felt trapped, it is physical difficult to leave here (even when there are no storms and you don’t have to be back on the same beach in 24 hours time), to get away is either a boat ride or a two day walk across the mountains. When I first showed the test film someone suggested I looked trapped within the frame and I do think the film is partly an expression of being trapped. We are all trapped in different ways, by time, by routine, by our bodies.
The idea to film every day came out of a growing desire desire to hang on to each moment, to record and hold it. This came along with the realisation of the futility of trying to do this; like chasing snowflakes, each one you catch means you miss a thousand more.
But film and moving image are the closest we have to being able to capture time. The way digital images are recorded are different from memory, they exist without us. We can relive other peoples moments long gone and see them happening in real time. The young stay young as we get older; the technology may change but the experience of watching film doesn’t.
I wanted to capture a few minutes of experience each day, to try and be completely present while filming, aware of the camera and of my surroundings. I also want to show that at the same time trying to capture every moment on film is as futile. The process itself has had the effect of speeding up this year, making it one to be counted and got through; one month down eleven to go, nine, six, five, four, rather than lived and cherished. And the more moments I catch the more overwhelming they become, the less distinguishable from each other, each addition diminishing the last, taking up precious screen time. I have found in the process that even staying present for ten minutes each day isn’t always that easy.
It is this sense of being overwhelmed by individual moments like passing carriages on a train which your eyes can only follow one at time that I hope to express. Life is speeding up and I’m not sure whether it is just mine. But the more we hang on and try and stay off the inevitable, the faster it is going to seem.
Describing this with words seems inadequate to me, which is why I am making the film and spending so much time doing it. I started work on the project early in 2010 and won’t be finished until autumn 2012 at the earliest. I have had a sense from very the beginning of what it looks like and how it feels and that it feels important.
I’m sure that even if it comes out exactly how I imagine (which I kind of hope it doesn’t), not everyone will agree, but this isn’t a reason to stop trying.
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