Adam Roberts

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Very 1993

13 mins, Super8/16mm, 1.33:1, b&w

Very was shot on 8mm film and then enlarged to 16mm to accentuate the photographic grain. It was shot through a mask of variable width that allowed the view to be obscured to a greater or lesser degree. Shooting was only ever from one point of view, a restriction evoking the experience of a member of the dance’s audience. Silence in the film is underlined by fitting only a few passages with sound and music.

The film hopes to invite the viewer to fill in what is out of sight, and so build images in the mind – enough information to lead to shrewd guesswork, or even to stimulate speculation, which is to say, to allow for choreography in the mind’s eye.

The persistence of the dancer from one shot to the next is, in film-making generally, a highly evolved means to an illusion – the illusion that what you see is “real”. Here however, cuts to black (visual silences) and fragmentation prevent that. Instead the clues have to be put together, organized and arranged by mind, with the aid of memory.

The process of watching is to become part of the piece itself; the act of looking is a performance.

The film can also be seen as an attempt to convey or reproduce the often elusive nature of a first encounter.

The sound track originally featured a few sections of synchronized sound – footfalls and breath. A selection of Hungarian Songs, composed and performed by Matteo Fargion were laid in at regular intervals. Later however, in 2000, the current sound track was made, which uses purely instrumental music written by Matteo Fargion. The distribution of music is the same however.

As Robert Bresson told Michel Ciment: “It is the impression of a thing and not the thing itself that matters. The real is something we make for ourselves. Everyone has their own. There is the real and there is our version of it”.

dancers: Lynn Bristow, Deborah Jones, Jonathan Burrows

choreography: Jonathan Burrows

music: Matteo Fargion

director/camera/editing: Adam Roberts