stephen connolly // films


Two Coronations, 17' video 2010

How did you come across the archive and what is it ?

I'd had access to a large family archive of 16mm film for a number of years through a friend. The men of the family were directors of a large British combine company - at the height of it's success in the mid-20th century but dismembered and sold in the mid 1970's. The archive mostly depicts the family at leisure, from the early 1930s to the 1960s. In addition to their private activities, they also shot footage of major public events. Images of the military processions of the coronations in 1937 (George VI) and 1953 (Elizabeth II) stood out to me.

Can you describe how you set about the work?

Working with this archive, instead of re-contextualising the images and letting them stand for themselves, I wanted to harness them to explore aspects of the construction of meanings in moving image. So apart from the content, I wanted to address issues such as : Is a degree of agency implied by narrative and depiction? How are narrative and agency engaged as the depiction centres on individuals; what happens when crowds or social situations are foregrounded? What happens when these two kinds of depictions are brought together?

Where does the voiceover fit in?

I felt the film needed a voice to give a new context for the images, at one removed from the archive content, but most importantly, reporting fact. This has been productive in generating relationships with the images and pushed the work in a new direction. With the soundtrack - I sought sounds that were intimate yet uneasy at the same time. So I've subjected household objects to vibration in the hope of finding a domestic resonant frequency.

Stephen Connolly 2010

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