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

Press Quotes

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“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

“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”

“Stylized surveillance footage constructs a dreamlike narrative of desire and loss.”
THE NEW YORK VIDEO FESTIVAL 1996, Film Society of Lincoln Center

“At first I kept viewing video in terms of film, like a poor relation. I thought I had to find a way to make it my own. So I made the decision to film without using my eyes in order to completely unlearn. I hoped that if I worked in this way when I came back to using a normal video camera it would be like filming for the first time. I bought a spy camera and sewed it into a Turkish waistcoat. The waistcoat was covered in small circular mirrors and I removed one of the mirrors and put the camera in its place. Then I boarded a cruise ship, crossing the Atlantic. On the ship I had no way of seeing what I was filming and had to learn to trust the movement of my body. After a while I realised the angle wasn’t good – the camera was sloping upwards so I had to adopt a very strange walk, my shoulders hunched over.”
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Interview with Laura Waddington by Olaf Möller, The Pesaro International Film Festival Catalogue,

“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’s words underscore the desire to bring an end to the feeling of familiarity with which we treat the images and the act of documenting events, what, in other words, George Didi-Huberman calls an exercise of “disarming the eyes” — “il faut désarmer les yeux: faire tomber les remparts que l’idée prélable — le préjugé — interpose entre l’oeil et la chose.” Thus the body reemerges as an active and fundamental presence, revealing the non-coincidence between the documentary and its presumed adhesion to reality, as well as its irreducible opacity.