Beverley Carpenter writes...
I came to Durness directly from my last residency in Cambridge. The two communities could not be more different. In Durness I found the landscape overwhelming and the natural architecture of caves and rock formations more dominant than any man made structures. The lives of the people here, predominantly a crofting community, are formed in many ways by this landscape.
In the new Durness Studio there are now facilities for digital photography, still image manipulation, printing, scanning etc. Over my period of time here I have worked with two assistants, Rhiannon Van Muysen and George Miller to train them to use the equipment creatively and also to train others. We have worked with 4 groups of young people in Durness. Each group with our support has produced manipulated digital photographic images and a short movie. These have been shown during screening nights at the film club that we have set up on Sunday evenings. The whole community has been able to enjoy these evenings and appreciate the work of the young people, many of whom are disadvantaged in some ways.
The two assistants that I have been working with have also been producing their own work and raising their levels of skills progressively. Rhiannon has been specialising in movies and George in soundtracks using different software packages. Already community groups have begun to use their services for posters etc raising self esteem and encouraging further learning. They were also able to accompany me on a training trip to London and Cambridge which was hugely beneficial to them.
While here I created films that I have made from talks with local people, mainly the young people that I have been working with. Initial video was taken apart and reassembled frame by frame to produce images that examine the characters through short still poses in series. These are set against landscape formations that swamp and reveal the individuals in turn. Ideas are still developing around this work for me and I will be taking away lots of material as ongoing work.
I have seen confidence grow within the young people here and the studio has also provided a link to the wider digital world through interest in world films and exposure to my work. The interest of the young people here has been consistant and the limited exposure previously to opportunities of this sort has meant that there is a commitment to pursuing projects and participating in new experiences. The groups of young people who have been involved will have the opportunity to make a short movie each and move into a deeper level of understanding, both of film language and software/camera use.
This level of engagement will provide much needed support for youths in the immediate area and beyond. They will, not only have a youth facility, but a means of expressing themselves creatively through this project and sharing those particular views with the wider community. The existing isolation of the area can become less of an obstacle once new networks have been established with the wider digital arts community to give creative exchange of ideas to the young people and new outlets for creative endeavours that take place here.