The small, the fragile, the unfinished voice

Laura Waddington, 2006"Le cinéma critique. De l'argentique au numérique, voies et formes de l'objection visuelle " (edited by Nicole Brenez and Bidhan Jacobs) Publications de la Sorbonne, France 2010.

In response to the demand to write about “your work, conception, principles, vision of art in society nowdays ?”

Filming is for me a way of discovering the world. It brings me into contact with situations and people that question my certainties and explode my way of thinking. I do it because in the end it is for me the only way of living.

I think to create is to distance oneself from official versions and to try in the simplest way possible to pose the question of who we are and how we are living. When I watch a film, it is to perceive life for a moment through another person’s eyes. Maybe it’s a way of discovering that the ‘other’ is not so different and that difference lies within ourselves. I have an African friend who says about making films that it is “opening windows.”

At first, when I started shooting video, I was always comparing it to film so I made the decision to film for a few years without using my eyes in order to completely unlearn: (Filming with a spy camera attached to my body (ZONE) and later asking people in 15 countries, via internet, to film my story in place of me (The Lost Days)). My hope was that when I came to look through the viewfinder again it would be like filming for the first time and that I’d learn to take video for what it was. And so I came to love video for being a form of writing.

I feel it’s a medium which leaves room for the personal, the intimate, the patient, letting one’s story and the way it should be filmed emerge gradually through accidents and chance meetings. I love the un-intimidating quality of the tourist camera, which allows me to enter into situations I believe would not be possible with a large camera and crew (eg. the weeks I spent with the sailors of CARGO; or the refugees of Border, who invited me to accompany them into the fields of Sangatte on condition I did not show their faces – and where it was essential to move quickly and surreptitiously so as to not attract the attention of the police.)

People talk to me increasingly of the demands of the “market”. But I’ve always believed in an audience. I’m constantly touched by the curiosity and openness of many spectators who look attentively and who tell me how tired they are of choices being made for them.

I think it’s never been so important for individuals to go out with cameras (not the embedded nor the professional but those who want just to take time to look and understand.) It’s my belief in a world full of people claiming to “represent” everyone but themselves, the small, the fragile, the unfinished voice – that which searches and refuses to be anything but that – is a kind of resistance.

Perhaps to be a film or video-maker today is to be a sort of itinerant. To know that no deal, no system, no country is so vital to one’s being, that one wouldn’t walk away from it when asked to compromise one’s vision.

I’ve come to love this small, ongoing dialogue with people around the world and to associate it with a kind of freedom.

Venice, 2006

“Le cinéma critique. De l’argentique au numérique, voies et formes de l’objection visuelle “ (ed. Nicole Brenez and Bidhan Jacobs) Publications de la Sorbonne, France 2010