Interview film with Mark Jenkin to coincide with his exhibition ‘An Air That Kills’ held at Millennium Gallery, St. Ives.
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.A Shropshire Lad’ by A.E HousmanINTRODUCTION
‘An Air that Kills’ is video artist Mark Jenkin’s first exhibition at Millennium. Jenkin states “The past only exists from the perspective of the present, and the present itself quickly becomes the past. It is lost to the wind”
The Japanese principle of ‘mono no aware’ deals with the inherent sadness and loss felt in the passing of time. Jenkin frames the work within this context. Jenkin praises films capacity to partly remedy this state of wistfulness – ghost images are captured for eternity to try and stop the transient nature of life, in other words to stop everything from being lost.
Each chapter in the film takes as a starting point a significant moment in the artist’s life – Jenkin’s began by writing his memories or streams of consciousness recollecting each event, these were then refined into haikus and disjointed using the cut-up technique, creating a random, fragmented mood of memory as opposed to a clear narrative. The location for each event was then visited and filmed as they are seen today. The voice in the first 2 films gives a context to the moving images, but the fragmentation of sound and image represent the dislocation of memory. The third film contains no voice – it is too soon to form a meaningful recollection, the memory is still present.
The films were captured on a combination of Colour Reversal Super8 filmstock and black and white 16mm negative. They were then hand-processed in a combination of traditional and experimental chemistry (including the use of coffee, vitamin c power and household bleach) in Jenkin’s studio / lab in Newlyn.
In 2002 he was awarded the Frank Copplestone First Time Director Award at The Celtic Film Festival for his film Golden Burnand he is also a Royal Television Society Award Winner.