Collaborations - Roger Polley and John Woodman

RITUAL 1981-82
Lyme Regis, Dorset
Greenhouse was made as part of a commission from the Saltburn Improvement Company and Northern Arts to work in Saltburn's Woodland Valley Park. The video was made in VHS and is a sound/image exploration of the interior of a large Victorian Greenhouse which had fallen into disrepair and dereliction. A rainy day was selected to make the work and sounds made of rain falling onto the roof and through into the interior space of the greenhouse became an important part of the work. Different levels of sound were recorded according to the varying intensity of the rain.

The video was shot in close up in continuous takes using panning movements across the interior surfaces of the greenhouse, exploring the formal aspects of the frame. Transparency and opaqueness were important exploratory concern within the work, from both a representational and a metaphoric point of view. The panes of glass opaque with condensation, which would normally have been transparent, deny the viewer the opportunity of seeing through it to the exterior space outside of the greenhouse. The camera instead focuses on the opaque qualities of the glass and the representation of the other details of the interior structure.

The video is subjected to another level of experimentation to extend the theme of opacity, transparency and representation by digitally layering the video footage on the 'Avid'. The panning movements were overlapped in up to three layers, creating the opportunity for new formal configurations and visual juxtapositions and building in the possibility for chance and unpredictability. The images glide over each other, sometimes moving in opposite directions and at others in simple single layered pan movements.

The sound is also digitally layered in different places which intermittently enhances the sound of the rain (it appears to be raining heavier for example when the sound is overlapped in three layers and silence when the rain has stopped.) and has an effect on the way in which the images are perceived and vice versa, throughout the duration of the video.

Film Installations - 1983 - 2000 Roger Polley and John Woodman / short edited extracts The collection of films for the website were originally made in Super 8 and projected in gallery spaces using either 4 or 5 Super 8 loop projectors. The installations are often shown continuously in a gallery space.

Frames Super 8 (orig) 8 minutes colour 4 screen projection
Mobile 1 Super 8 (orig) 8 minutes colour 4 screen projection
Silver Fish Super 8 (orig) 5 minutes colour 4 screen projection
Good Friday Super 8 (orig) 6 minutes colour 5 screen projection
Bubbles Super 8 (orig) 8 minutes colour 4 screen projection
Angle Super 8 (orig) 10 minutes colour 4 screen projection
Mobile 2 Super 8 (orig) 8 minutes colour 5 screen projection
Kaleidoscope Super 8 (orig) 3 minutes colour 5 screen projection

'Faced with these installations one is reminded of Maholy Nagy's Light Machine where purely looking and observing the visual object is as much pleasure as deciphering and understanding its construction and processes. These multi-screen installations focus on the visual reading of surface, playing with distance, reflections and picture planes. Elements such as the tide, waves, currents and their rhythms become active components in conjunction with the framing, loops, angles and multi-projection to create a myriad of possibilities where each set- up and although using many 'natural' elements as source material they do not reflect or mimic nature but rather translate some of the patterns, movements and structures present in both the content and the technological apparatus into a visually autonomous installation'.

Michael Maziere April 1985 From the book The Structure of Chance

Commission: South Hill Park


ARBORETUM    1983-84
Commission:  E.M Flint Galley, Walsall


EAUMAGE     1984
Commission: Festival d'Art, Paris


DORSET STOUR    1986-89


VISIONS AND PATTERNS- River Exe Valley Parks      1991-92
Commission:  Exeter City Council



SPIRIT OF NATURE       1993-94
Commission: Devon County Council, Countryside Commission and University of Plymouth


FOSSIL  FOREST       1995-96
Commission: Natural History Museum, Brighton

A  VISION OF LINCOLN       1995-96
Commission: Usher Gallery, Lincoln


MAPPING SALTBURN        1998-99
Commission: Saltburn Improvement Company and Northern Arts