Sketches for an Unknown Future

by Chris WELSBY
2019 / 4K / color / sound / 1S / 12' 01

CASTING LIGHT is my most recent video, shot just before the pandemic travel bans of early 2020. It is a comparatively late addition to the long and respectable tradition of the single-take film. The success of this genre generally depends on the filmmaker’s ability to isolate some aspect of the world and "re-present" it with a minimum of mediation. It is my hope that in choosing the single take approach, I might facilitate a moment of "participatory consciousness"—i.e., a shift in perception in which the gap between subject and object is dramatically reduced. I'd like to think that the more immediacy we are able to bring to our experience of the world, the greater our chances might be of discovering what is needed to save it.
The video is a low-angle, continuous take of a clear pool and waterfall deep in the tropical jungle. An ape-like rock formation standing ominously at the crest of the falls is playfully referred to as an ancient river god by the voiceover that dominates the first few minutes of footage. Fish dart busily back and forth in the pool, unaware that they are probably doomed. The river downstream is already dry and it will be months before the rains come—if they come at all—to replenish this once-fertile river valley. Oblivious to their fate, the fish continue to compete for food and shade—crude, if obvious metaphors for the human predicament.
When the voiceover falls silent, the viewer is freed to immerse themselves in the clear water and to contemplate the scene with fresh immediacy. Drawn almost hypnotically into the magical world below the surface, they can now bring their own thoughts, associations and responses to the mix, sharing agency with the filmmaker and creating a parallel narrative of their own.


distribution format Digital file on server (HD)
screen 16/9 (single screen)
speed 60 fps
sound sound
original language English
rental fee 50,00 €