Vanessa Woods
What the Water Saw
2006
What the Water Saw, RT: 02:34, 16mm/35mm color film transferred to video, sound (2006)

What the Water Saw explores a mystery at the depths of the sea. The film is structured to mimic the ocean’s moods, creating a varied psychological space for the viewer. Equally important, the visual construction of the film moves between form and formlessness. This play between form (appearance) and formlessness (withdrawal) echoes both the ocean’s tides, and the idea of light and dark, or creation and destruction (death). Formally, What the Water Saw combines negative and positive black and white footage with densely painted 35mm film. The ocean’s depths are simulated through the build up of layers created through extensive re-photography and post-production techniques. Embedded within these layers lies the core of the mystery, which is obscured and revealed through fragmented bits of light. The layers also function as a metaphor for looking through the recesses of history and memory in an attempt to understand a forgotten past.
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