Jennie Savage, A Million Moments (Wyndham Arcade screening 18 April 2008)
A Million Moments is a site-specific film made by Jennie Savage during a 3-month artist residency at g39. The film was initially screened in Wyndham Arcade as a site-specific event to be listened to on wireless headphones.
The film invites viewers to interrogate the image and look beyond its surface being at once aware that what they are looking at is an image – a representation, a simulation of a place – but then to map that image, to travel over it as if the image itself is a topography or terrain to be navigated. This is done simply through the act of looking and being guided by the narration. In doing so the viewer is taken on a journey, and that journey is a mediation on the arcade written and narrated by the artist. The text she has created is based on her experiences during the residency at g39, when she interviewed businesses, historians, architectural experts, shoppers and also made her own research of the arcade in Cardiff’s Record Office & Local Studies section. The aim of this was not to create a linear history of this place, but to encounter scattered moments and make them visible in the image. These ‘moments’ are given no particular hierarchy and each perspective is given equal weight.
The resulting film does not so much tell the story of the arcade as to explode the image, making links between that which appears on the screen and that which is known about what we see. This film is a continuation of a much longer-standing interest that the artist has been exploring, looking at perceptions of place and representation of that experience.
A Million Moments is the first part of a longer term look at Cardiff’s Arcades by Savage in a new body of work called The Arcades Project: A 3D Documentary
Cardiff boasts the highest concentration of Arcades in the entire UK, an exceptional and often overlooked feature of the city. These Victorian shopping arcades are a considerable asset to Cardiff’s commercial landscape and are home to a wealth of small independently run shops and businesses.
The Arcades Project : A 3D Documentary
is inspired by Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project which was based in the Paris arcades of the 1930s where he explored these spaces as architectural sites manifest at the dawning of a new age of consumerism. It therefore seems somehow fitting to explore Cardiff’s arcades through this same prism but in the light of the new shopping development of St Davids 2, which must indicate another phase of soci-economic development.