ZONE

US, 1995
8mins, Beta SP, NTSC, B&W

Directed, Produced, Written, Camera, Edited Laura Waddington

Premiere

The 25th Montreal International Festival of New Cinema, 1996

Synopsis

An experiment – filming without looking through a viewfinder, the camera attached to my body. I filmed it, in 1994, on a ship, crossing the Atlantic and created the story later on. Now I feel only the process was of interest and the last shot, a Filipino sailor, cleaning the decks at 4am. When, in 2000, the Rotterdam Film Festival commissioned me to make a video in a port, this image led me to make CARGO.

Looking back on the making of ZONE

When I started shooting video, I was constantly comparing it to film so I made the decision to film without using my eyes for a few years, in order to unlearn my habits and assumptions. I bought a spy camera and sewed it into the lining of a traditional Turkish waistcoat, covered in small circular mirrors. By removing one of the mirrors, the camera gazed out at the world, unnoticed. Connected to a small 8mm video recorder in a pouch around my waist, it could record up to ninety minutes of tape.

I boarded a transatlantic cruise ship, bound for England. Wandering the decks, I learnt to frame with the movement of my body, my shoulders hunched over to prevent the camera from sloping up towards the sky. Fascinated by the blurred boundary between documentary and fiction, I wanted to see if I could create a fictional story out of randomly shot documentary footage.

related passage in “Scattered Truth”


Press Quotes

“In ZONE the observing subject is the filmmaker herself, who travels on a cruise ship with a hidden camera. Here again the voice over sets the tone – a meditation on longing and loss. The voyage as search for identity is a thread linking all of Waddington’s works. The goal of the journeys are unknown and not important, what counts is the experience itself. The experiences are not made passively, the filmmaker becoming part of the stories and lives she films.”
Olivier Rahayel FILM-DIENST, Germany

“She boards the ship, the QE2, from New York to England. The situation implies unavoidable solitude: the passengers in their cabins do not notice the sea. Alone, a woman paces up and down the decks, looking for a man, who is perhaps not there or who simply does not exist. It would be wrong to suspect voyeurism in the use of a camera, normally reserved for spying. For what Laura Waddington is really tracing is her capacity to renounce her gaze and abandon herself to the movement of her body in order to produce a trembling of vision… a gaze that encompasses everything in a single gesture. ”
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Bouchra Khalili, THE 51st OBERHAUSEN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL CATALOGUE

“At first, video was a way for her to overcome practical difficulties “While I was living in New York, I met electronic musicians who were making and distributing music out of their apartments. I felt that cinema would eventually move in this direction and that with a small camera, even if I couldn’t find production funds, I’d always be able to continue shooting.” With video, she says she wanted to “unlearn” the reflexes she’d acquired shooting film. By filming “without using (her) eyes” as with ZONE, filmed in 1995 on a transatlantic ship with a video camera sewn into her jacket.”
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Mathilde Blottière et Laurent Rigoulet, TELERAMA, France

“Laura Waddington is afraid of flying: She doesn’t board a plane, ever (well, ever….). Instead, she travels by bus or train or ship – the latter, the most archaic in a lot of ways, being the locus of two videos, ZONE (1995) and CARGO (2001). The old-fashioned ways used nowadays mainly by those lacking the funds for luxuries like time… The world slows down like that while growing back again to an older yet more natural size. It’s 19th century redux, befitting an oeuvre with a social agenda which for so many of the airplane-internet-mobile-set, Today’s People, feels passé but isn’t for the majority of human beings on this planet, Earth.”
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Olaf Möller “The Days and Years of My Travels”


Screenings

The 25th Montreal International Festival of New Film and Video, 1996
The 5th New York Video Festival, Film Society of Lincoln Center, 1996
VIPER International Film,Video and Multimedia Festival, Lucerne, 1996
The 8th European Media Art Festival, Osnabruk, 1996
The 12th Hamburg Short film festival, Hamburg, 1996
“In Person: Laura Waddington” Austrian Film Museum, Vienna, organised by Six Pack Film, Vienna, 2002
The 51st Oberhausen International Short Film Festival,  2005  (“Crossing Frontiers – Laura Waddington”)
The 41st Pesaro International Film Festival, 2005 (“Homage to Laura Waddington”)


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