An art project by Sapphire Goss
From September 2019, Metal Liverpool
Littoral City will be a video installation, created by and alongside the residents of Liverpool, mapped onto the city itself. It consists of giant living screens using a window space in the centre of Liverpool. As the sun goes down the film is revealed, the footage projected directly on to real plants that decay throughout the duration of the installation. The film is a multi-channel loop, perpetually shifting, evolving and growing, accompanied by an original soundtrack using manipulated sounds recorded in the city.
‘Littoral’ here refers both to Liverpool’s position as an outlier at the shore, facing towards the world; at the cutting edge/frontier of cultural enlightenment, but also as a maverick city within the UK. ‘Littoral drift’ also suggests a sense of erosion, debris and flotsam - neglect; abandonment; ‘managed decline’. If the central idea of Eternity City was idealism around new towns and utopian thinking, this new work will look at how older cities are managed and mismanaged, built and regenerated, adored and reviled. It also refers to the fact that as a public-facing display the audience does not have to cross a threshold to see it; the work is in a window on a boundary looking out to the ebb and flow of the city.
Considering this idea of shorelines, boundaries and borders, the residency and workshops will be used to map Liverpool: its structures, patterns and spaces, light, textures and fluctuations, from frozen moments to loops and layers. The landscape will be captured by walking and gathering film footage, sound, photographs and objects.
By compiling materials from workshop participants and collaging them together to create a selection of outcomes both displayed in the space and online, the residency will ask about the social and collaborative possibilities of filmmaking – stitching together diverse submissions and materials. These outcomes could involve film, photos, sculptures, testimonies and more - that will then go on to inform or even be included in the final installation.
About the artist:
Sapphire Goss is a UK based filmmaker and video artist. She makes films and installations that explore the social, political, and natural histories of overlooked, undervalued, or everyday places. Her work spans installations, documentary essay films, exhibitions, commissions, live events and workshops. She was part of the digital arts accelerator Fish Island Labs culminating in a showcase at the Barbican (2015) and has had work shown around the UK and internationally. She was selected as a Live Cinema UK artist for the national Talent Pool (2017-18). Recent projects include work created from collaborative workshops, such as in the ACE supported project Eternity City (2018) and Lug-Li (2018), commissioned by the Canals & Rivers Trust.
Collaging video landscapes, cities, rooms and bodies with physical elements, she constructs imaginary worlds: in the same frame mountains shot in one location, sea from another country, sky from archive. Made from fragments, with mismatched locations and temporal and spatial anomalies, these are archives of artificial worlds that people often think are real.
Her films use experimental material techniques, playing with textures, surface light patterns and fragments of archive to create abstract animations; a moving collage. whether using physical elements such as paper or real plants, multiple channels that feedback in endless combinations, or elements that are sound/data responsive, she creates kaleidoscopic audiovisual work that grows and decays and lives beyond the screen.
Elements are looped and processed until the colours and shapes shift and become hyperreal and distorted - not using computer generated objects of the uncanny valley but creating a sense of an ‘analogue uncanny’. These eerie synthetic memories seduce the viewer into a nostalgia for something that never existed. It is a critique of the compelling but simplistic views of our past as a fixed material, where the jagged edges of reality are worn down into a fuzzy, hazy, light-soaked memory, like broken glass worn down to jewels by the sand and sea.