Exhibition – February 2022
‘Constant Follower + Friends’ was an exhibition of moving image work created by Constant Follower in collaboration with a series of Filmmakers, and presented by Tolbooth.
The central piece of this show was a new work ‘One Hand Washes The Other’ by McAll (Constant Follower) and Filmmaker Sean Hall, which has been commissioned by Tolbooth, thanks to support from Creative Scotland, and focuses on themes of Creative Community.
“Art is community; it’s coming together through different disciplines to create a greater whole. Our film ‘One Hand Washes The Other’ is a testament to this creative community around the album.” McAll
‘The Merry Dancers on TV’ by Fiona Burton
In ‘Scots’ natural phenomena are often given beautiful phrasing – the ‘Merry Dancers’ of the song being the Scots term for the Aurora Borealis. The song speaks to the things in life we miss in the bustle and stresses of modern living. In writing the song, McAll was thinking of a particular episode where friends missed the real Merry Dancers above their cottage whilst they were indoors watching a documentary about them.
About the video in the filmmaker Fiona’s words:
“Making art together is something that transcends any distance and that was definitely confirmed over the period of making this film. Being able to work with a local band while being trusted with such a stunning song made any physical distance feel obsolete. Constant Follower’s choice to work with new and emerging artists for their videos meant that I, as an artist, was able to create something unlike anything I’ve had the ability to before. This is my second foray into stop motion and I have learned so much from this project alone- skills that would have taken me years to learn in any other setting. The film, at its core; is about connection and how easy it is to lose it if we start taking things for granted in life. I liked the idea that even the moon herself could tire of being taken for granted and head off on a holiday only for one child to notice it missing and go on a voyage to let it know how much it is loved and respected.”
‘What’s Left To Say’ by George Farrow-Hawkins
Additional information from filmmaker George Farrow-Hawkins:
In George’s words: “It was a great privilege to be allowed complete autonomy to create a visual response to such an emotionally significant song. I was compelled, in hearing ‘What’s Left to Say’, to make a video that would convey something of the unspoken connection which is forged by time spent with another person. I wanted to create images that were as laden with memory and emotion as the track itself. In doing so, I wanted to reflect the way our memories of people become irrefutably tied to the spaces we associate with them.
During 2020 and early 2021, like most others, I spend an unprecedented amount of time in my own home, repeatedly looking upon the same interior space and views out of the window. This restriction, more than ever before, made me notice the idiosyncrasies of the shifting light, and brief moments of movement, that punctuated the otherwise fixed surroundings.
What would normally be drowned out by the bustle of human activity, became more visible. The cycle of light that marked the transition of day into night and the gradual change of seasons, continued when so much had ground to a halt.
The sets, which can be seen within the video for ‘What’s Left to Say,’ were created using ready to hand recycled materials, repurposed to replicate the world I was living in on a miniature scale. I attempted to match material as sympathetically as possible, using items such as kitchen towel, sandpaper, and cardboard packaging, to evoke the texture and visual appearance of the space around me. The action was captured using the technique of stop motion animation.”
‘Spirits in the rooftree’ by Michael Prince
I instantly connected to ‘Spirits In The Roof Tree’. The sense of emptiness, and the possible love that has been somehow lost – a possible spirit ‘within’ were themes that I knew I could work with.
During lockdown 2020 I had made a film in my own home, an old Victorian house that has a definite presence or ‘spirit’ in one of the rooms. During the spring, when the leaves are new on the horse chestnut tree, and the wind is blowing, sunlight ripples through the leaves and spills through the Victorian windows into the ‘Spirit room’… it was here that the film was made.
When Constant Follower expressed an interest in my film and played me their track, I immediately wanted to film new footage in the ‘spirit’ room to make their video. It felt right, and a good direction for the film. But for the shots to match the original footage the lighting conditions would need to be the same.
Band member Amy was the link, ‘the ghost’ ‘the fetch’. I photographed her on film and printed her portrait. We tried to film of several occasions to film her in the house but the conditions weren’t right. Eventually, on a late summer’s evening the wind began to blow and the light within began to animate…it was perfect. Amy was filmed in the ‘spirit’ room and edited into the film – making it complete.
‘Neither Is, Nor ever Was’ by Sean Hall
“At its heart, this film is about how landscapes contain and generate both time and memory. I wanted it to feel like a real conversation with the album, to be informed and inspired by it, but to also, hopefully, contribute something new. As with memories, when we revisit them from a different time or place, a different perspective, they can sometimes look or feel different, they take on a new quality. My hope is that this film acts similarly, offering a new vantage point into the work of a band I’ve been so thrilled to get to work alongside, and whose work I really admire.”
This exhibition was supported by Creative Scotland via the performance arts venue relief fund.
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