"Textures, shapes and spaces emerging and dissolving - created by stones, iron and water in enigmatic places that speak of lost uses and fading significance... the past held in place by light, shadows, reflections and movement... who is looking? the photographer effaced behind an evocative aesthetic... the ghost of a presence glides towards the radiator... the spectator stilled, entranced in the stone theatre of the crypt ... who is speaking?
the sounds detached, echoes from the present mingling with the filtered traffic,
chiming against an architecture, a geography, an impossible present ..."
John Adams, Bristol University (on Residual)
Residual looks at our feeling of place and time in its most stripped down state: simply being. Hovering on the borders of consciousness, at once an unearthing and a burial of meaning, Residual is devoid of human presence and event. Drawing on the archaeology of the city of Bristol (underground tunnels, urban construction, port activity) this diptych pays homage to the forgotten: the abandoned, the eroded, the no longer visible.
If one listens to a space, a building, a landscape, there is often a feeling of residue, of accumulated time, of events which are somehow muted, held in secrecy.
Time and erosion seem to increase the feeling of a site: as though the absence of matter somehow heightened its presence. Like the weight that we feel when we are before a ruin: the presence of the disappeared.
Residual looks at place as locus, a holding space for the actings of time and event. The ‘this happened here’ is addressed in a post-factual manner by focusing on a location’s latent history. Like a lingering memory, once forgotten, now freshly glimpsed – we can sense it but are unable to put it into words.
Residual employs dual image and sound juxtapositions, cross dissolves and overlays, where the movement arises primarily through the relationships and progressive ebb and flow of the edit rather than via an active subject or visible event within the frame.
Film stills of Residual
Seeing part of an object or setting, rather than the whole, invites
a less cognitive experience, one that feels at once universal and intimate
Installation views of Residual, Watershed offsite at St. John's Crypt, Bristol. Documentation by the artist. © 2005
An artist essay on Residual is published in Electric Pavilion: reimagining the city of Bristol, Ed. David Drake, Tiger Prawn for the Watershed, 2006.
Written and directed by: Isabel Rocamora • Featuring: the city of Bristol • Shot and edited by: Isabel Rocamora • Sound design: Thomas Köner • Sound recordist: Helena Gough • Research assistant: Sian White • Archaelogist in conversation: Dan Hicks • Subterranea artist in conversation: Heath Bunting • Commissioned by: Electric Pavilion at the Watershed and Bristol City Council for Creative Bristol • Funded by: Arts Council England South West • Supported by: the Churches Conservation Trust • Assistant Producers Ben James, Hanna Saastamoinen • Produced by: Isabel Rocamora for the Isabel Rocamora Studio (Infinito Productions). Year of production: 2005.