Runa Islam – Turner Prize

I went to see the Turner prize entrants at Tate Britain and of all of them Runa Islam was easily my favourite, there were three films of hers showing, and all appeared to be shot using 16mm film.  The first showed a woman standing beside a plinth with porcelain cups and saucers on which she interacted with, including knocking them off, there were slow motion shots of the items falling and the crashing noises heard, but a sense of detachment between the action of pushing the cup off the plinth, and the subsequent fall and break.  She said she was inspired after seeing some of the earliest experiments in the very early days of film when the technicians used a jug of water crashing on a floor to demonstrate the film and how such a mundane action and movement could be so beautiful.  A second film was about removing the aesthetic input of the film-maker, so the camera was controlled automatically to spell out the word “cinematography”, which was not apparent looking at the film, but one ended having a very odd grasp of the scene being shot as the camera moved around in this strange way.  The third film called “the first day of spring” was taken in Bangladesh where Islam paid a number of rickshaw drivers to sit still, whereas they are normally paid to be on the move.Again the camera moved around in a way that clearly was not a documentary film.. but then was difficult to see what it was communicating, but actually it was a picture or painting of a moment that was taking place over a period of time.

 There is an interview of her on the Tate website which is really useful.  I can’t get it onto this blog as it is not on you tube.


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