Receiving the scholarship allowed me to take up an invitation to travel to Sweden as a guest of the SHOOT Dance for Camera Festival in 2009. I met Christina Molander of the SHOOT festival at the BA Videodanza festival in Argentina, where I had been in residency, I had been travelling through the Argentinean countryside, making a series of short, landscape video studies.
My aim had been to shift my habits through practicing my practice in wide spaces and unfamiliar territories. I had been shooting in salt fields and deserts, in heat hazes and fire. Christina suggested that I should visit Sweden and continue to challenge my habits through working in coldness and darkness. So, with the support of the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship, I travelled with a collaborator through the north of Sweden into the Arctic Circle.
I encountered a silent world of frozen stillness – of blues, and shades of white and gray. I wrapped my camera in bubble-wrap and pushed it across frozen rivers, letting it slip and slide, relinquishing camera control to the icy environment. I asked questions around the screen as a site for choreography. What is it that I am choreographing? The body? The space around the body? The movement that already exists in the space? Or the frame around the space? I tried to work my way through all of those options.
I made a study in stillness, which can be found here – https://vimeo.com/9960964
I ate reindeer meat and cloudberries. I watched the Northern Lights shimmer across the sky, and I know that the memory of that experience will never leave me.
The works that I made in Sweden on that trip continue to be shown at screen festivals, and the trip helped cement my approach to placing the movement (or stillness) of the human body into the natural environment. Subsequently, I was invited back to Sweden to speak at a film festival and show the works that I had created during my time there.
This kind of trip is invaluable to an artist. I was under no pressure to make work, but I did make work. I kept a blog, which is still available to view here: