by Cara Tolmie
Cara Tolmie's new film, Pley, surveys the changing behaviour of those who are asked to accept new norms, and the effects of specific environments upon language.
Pley was shot inside a structure specifically designed by the artist to host a series of encounters between three strangers. The set is comprised of two spaces, one inside the other, though at no point while watching the film does the viewer see its exterior or understand fully its internal architecture. Over a number of hours the participants undertook activities devised by Tolmie that were deliberately left undocumented. Instead, the interviews that the artist conducted afterwards form the basis of the work. Filmed individually, the participants reflect on their assumptions about each other, about Tolmie herself and about the tasks they were asked to fulfill. Their responses reveal differing inclinations to accept or challenge the temporary social setting into which they were placed.
Tolmie's non-linear edit interweaves the participants' reactions and interpretations with sequences filmed with a fourth person: an actress marking time in the set. The woman appears to report back via her phone to an outside world whose characteristics quickly seem to shift as she reveals different personas. It is through these scenes that we glimpse aspects of the set and its various props, such as a heap of gravel and a fish tank filled with water, mud and stones, which also may have been used previously by the three participants in their activities. Moving between the assured actions of the actress and the dreamlike recollections of the participants, the film shifts our perceptions of what constitutes naturalistic and nonnaturalistic behaviours.
Pley will be presented for the first time at Spike Island as a single large-scale projection with seating designed by the artist. Tolmie's use of bright colour and geometric shapes within the installation references the visual aspects of the film set that are more often spoken of than actually witnessed. This reflects the artist's wider concern with the performative role that language plays, both in reflecting on reality and in shaping our understanding of that reality through speech.
|Duration||18 minutes 57 seconds|
|Medium||Single screen video projection|
|Original format||HD 1080p25 (H.264)|
|Screening format||Bluray 1080i50 / HD MPEG-2 transport stream|
|Colour / B&W||Colour|
Pley was commissioned and produced by Picture This with support from Arts Council of England, Hamilton Corporate Finance Ltd, The Elephant Trust and The Island
Exhibition: 13 April to 16 June 2013
133 Cumberland Road
Cara Tolmie works with performance, film and installation.
A collection of newly commissioned texts that explore the moving image in relation to performance, time and the event.*
In April Picture This will merge with Spike Island.