Isabelle Russell

Title: That Which Words Escape
Year: 2020
Length: 18:40
Format: Single-channel video with sound

‘That Which Words Escape’ is a digital record for the original durational work performed by both artists collaboratively, hand in hand. The video and paired audio work reconstruct and preserve this temporal, site-responsive moment in time. Filmed inside an abandoned mining cave in Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Wellington. The cave faces out towards the city and is a setting of sonic conflict, with traffic noise pollution undermining the otherwise organic sonic landscape. Both bodies sit patiently upon the wet cavernous floor. A Weta family of four above our heads. The performance commences as both bodies position themselves facing opposite ends of the cave, hands clasped supporting the flame which connects them physically and visually through the light that emits between them. One perspective faces into the belly of the cave, its parameters undistinguishable, cloaked in darkness. The other face outwards towards the mouth where pale daylight and sound leech into the hollowed space. Carved out from the side of the hills rocky face, the earthen pocket envelopes both bodies as they waver between states of consciousness through this meditative act. The work poses questions concerning bodily autonomy and connection when occupying spaces of an enduring, transient, or inhospitable nature. This moving image work forms multiple dichotomous relationships between body and proximity, time and sound, and entanglements of physical and psychological states. 

Artist Isabelle Russell, based in Tāmaki Makaurau, recently completed their Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from Massey University in 2019.

Instagram: russell_isabelle

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