Film and Video by Steve Connolly
November 7th, 2009
The Reading Room (3 mins, 2002, 16mm)
This film traces the movement of visitors to the British Museum reading room through an entire working day in under three minutes and in silence. The film is an exploration of the changing place of the archive. Using an elevated camera, a single ‘master’ shot film reveals the layout of the library as a panoptican, a structure envisaged as an ideal prison by Jeremy Bentham (1785). Bentham described his design as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”
Film for Tom (12 mins, 2005, s16/video)
A lyrical homage to a friend and formative influence. Tom in voiceover is eloquent and effusive, yet finds no resolution to issues that haunt him. And to whom is he speaking – is the recording we hear a lecture? Near the conclusion of the film, a dramatic offscreen event complicates our understanding of the images and spaces we have seen.
“…Connolly’s angular, beautifully shot Film for Tom, which broods upon the life and death of a bright, troubled outsider, is breathtakingly measured and sure-footed.”
— New Contemporaries by Martin Herbert, Time Out London 15.11.06
Postcard from Istanbul (7 mins, 2002, s8/video)
The camera in Postcard from Istanbul seeks out the shoeshines of the city and exchanges the price of a shine for a short portrait on super8. A film shot in mid September 2001 while wandering through Beyoglu and encountering those working there.
The Whale (9 mins, 2003, 16mm)
“A deliberation on the state of nature and the nature of the State. . . The Whale combines several disparate components (including a parent-child dialogue on the relative threats posed by wild animals, an archival television interview with notorious RAF operative Ulrike Meinhof and citations from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan) to consider the need for a renewed communal sensibility in contemporary society.”
— Images Festival, Jeremy Rigsby, Toronto 2005
Great American Desert (16 mins, 2007, 16mm)
The camera of Great American Desert observes a scrubby Arizona desert, seasonally occupied by recreational vehicle dwellers. Other elements emerge in juxtaposition, including an account of the men who carried out the Hiroshima bombing and a spectacle staged shortly afterwards in celebration of this event. The film invokes an examination of ‘social liberty’ in the West in relation to war, spectacle, the environment and consumerism.
Más Se Perdió (We Lost More) (14 mins, 2008, 16mm)
This piece explores a number of approches to a depiction of contemporary Havana, Cuba. The camera moves between the spaces of the derelict National School of Ballet, documents young athletes at an outdoor stadium, and records a street scene with construction workers – the latter a quotation in homage a similar sequence in Chris Marker’s film Letter from Siberia (1957).
Filed under: film, video