Robert Beavers: Programme 2

Date: 16 November 2008 | Season: Robert Beavers 2008

Ssunday 16 November 2008, at 3:30pm
Norwich Aurora Festival

Robert Beavers, 1975/1997, 35mm, black-and-white and colour, sound, 45 min
Filmed in Italy (Venice), Switzerland (the Grisons) and England (London)
I had been visiting my family in Massachusetts and found the three volumes of ‘The Stones of Venice’, which a childhood friend had given me. It must have been one of the first American editions with those wonderful illustrations by Ruskin. I read it and hoped that I could do something with it in film. In 1973, I went to Venice with Gregory Markopoulos. At the time, Italy was not expensive; we lived for three or four months in a hotel while I filmed. The two other filming locations are Soglio in the Grisons, and Portland Place in London. I filmed the Venetian locations, sometimes at three different hours of the day, in colour and filmed specific architectural details at the same locations in black and white. It was edited with a soundtrack of fragments read from Ruskin’s text. Later, in 1975, I decided to add a coda, which took almost a year to do and involved changing the sound of the original. The coda is composed of the pages of ‘Unto This Last’ and the play of shadows between the pages intercut with falling snow. I removed the spoken fragments of text from the main part of the film and recorded sounds from the various locations. I also removed Ruskin’s date of death that had been placed at the end of the film before the coda. (Robert Beavers)

Robert Beavers, 2007, 16mm, colour, sound, 24 min
Cast: Dorothy Mahoney
Filmed in USA (Falmouth)
I have filmed my mother’s house and her garden. The shadows play an essential part in the mixture of loneliness and peace that exists here. The seasons move from the garden into the house, projecting rich diagonals in the early morning or late afternoon. Each shadow is a subtle balance of stillness and movement; it shows the vital instability of space. Its special quality opens a passage to the subjective; a voice within the film speaks to memory. The walls are screens through which I pass to the inhabited privacy. We experience a place through the perspective of where we came from and hear someone else’s voice through our own acoustic. The sense of place is never separate from the moment. (Robert Beavers)