Something from nothing

Sarah Browne

Description

‘With a particular sensitivity to the historical relationship between the production of perishable textiles and invisible digital code, Browne’s point of departure is a series of iconic images of early 20th-century women from the Shetland Islands, knitting as they walk, carrying baskets of turf on their backs. These photographs are an unexpected antecedent to contemporary images of the multitasking, precarious labourer: hands knitting are now typically replaced by fingers typing or swiping touchscreens of mobile devices; surplus time is ruthlessly exploited, mentally and physically. Using a smartphone as a kind of ‘participant-observer’ filming device, Browne worked in Shetland with cinematographer Kate McCullough and choreographer Fearghus Ó Conchúir to explore these ideas with a selection of women who work on the islands now. This film features a number of women, including a knitter (the fastest in the world), a photographer, a sex worker, a member of the youth parliament and the artist herself. These individuals are variously self-employed, in education, working a number of different part-time jobs or with zero-hour contracts. They all actively cultivate an internet presence, through personal and professional websites, blogs and social media profiles, and this labour of managing the self online is key to their autonomy and ability to manage their work effectively. Shot on iPhone 4, the film is monochrome, deliberately stylized and moves from conventional observation into apparently more abstract passages, following the increasingly intangible tasks the women are engaged in, such as the labour of making representation (textual, imagistic and political). The soundtrack to the film, composed by Alma Kelliher, uses techniques of pouring and knitting different sounds together to create the embodied rhythm of a contemporary ‘work song.’’

(Sourced from http://www.sarahbrowne.info/work/something-from-nothing/ on September 26th 2016)

Details
Title

Something from nothing

Year

2014

Creator

Sarah Browne

Medium

Moving Image

Form

Short

Genre

Text; feminist; landscape

Subject

Shetland Islands (Scotland); human multitasking; labour

Language

English

Duration

00:19:00

Original format

Digital: QTV AppleProRes422

Aspect ratio

16:9

Colour

Black and White

Sound

Sound

Rights

Sarah Browne 2014

Artist website

http://www.sarahbrowne.info/

Link to work

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG26KrUOzig