Video installation at gallery


A new exhibition of video works has opened at the Ashburton Art Gallery.

Named Durations the exhibition created by film maker Gaylene Barnes features nine screens each showing eight hours of unedited footage of an animal.

Having spent over 20 years cutting footage for natural history documentaries Gaylene realised how the story can often be manipulated.

“We put our own story on the natural world, I am just reacting against my career as a natural history editor, now I am looking at what it is the animal wants to tell us, and the only way to do that is to spend a duration of time with the animal.

“I have been quite decisive about what it is I am going to film, it is part of a process of being with that animal over an eight hour period.”

Eight hours seems like a long time to be watching an animal, but for Gaylene the idea of focused attention is important.

“I wanted to focus my attention on this animal for a moment and that is my gift to you,” she said.

As well as directing and editing documentaries and creating her own films, Gaylene also runs the Barnes Family Farms business with her brother at Highbank near Methven.

The nine animals chosen for the work are split in to three elemental categories; earth, water and air.

A sheep, cow and pig for earth, an eel, worm and frog for water, and chickens, bees and black billed gulls represent the air.

The gulls were her favourite animal to spend a day with.

“Sometimes when filming I need to have a break, but I watched the gulls for eight hours without a break, I couldn’t believe it, loads of drama, lots of fighting over territory, it was so interesting.”

Durations runs until August 27.

By Daniel Tobin