Like the artists on the Island to Outback camp, Dave and Ruth are brimful of ideas for the type of film they can make to portray the creative endeavour. Or will it be films plural?
Ruth says she first envisaged a documentary of the camp in a fairly straight way but what we are now thinking is a film of the art camp, and an installation.
David, the cameraman, is thinking the installation would be shown on 2 monitors, each with its own moving image – maybe one shot evolving slowly and the other in contrast constantly changing. Playing with the concept of time and space.
As far as the documentary is concerned, he can see a Kangaroo Island environment set against the Coward Springs environment, using the artists as a vehicle for that. He intends to follow them up back on the island.
They are following a documentary narrative, keeping it as free as they can but they do need structure. The artists are insisting on being their own person in their own creative way. Ruth and Dave say that they do like that much of the time the artists wander off on their own even though it is hard to film them without being intrusive.
They know that they have to be ready for whatever is happening. ‘You roll the camera and then you find out what is going on,’ Dave says.
One artist goes to the same place every day; one constantly wanders to different places, for example to collect. One stands by their easel barely moving for hours; one flits from one thing to another, never working on one thing for too long. Some are natural in front of the camera; others aren’t.
Ruth, whose background is in costume design, says that on a film set she adheres to a strict schedule. Here, no one is in charge and the schedule is non-existent.
What they have seen is artists having a go at practices or media that they have never considered before and finding a way that they can make it their own.
Dave acknowledges what a blessing it has been to have Gethin bring his sound expertise to their filming.
I speak to them both during a break in reviewing the 9 hours of footage they have already shot. They are assessing what they have and what is missing. Dave thinks that they might capture at least another 2 hours and they might end up with up to 15 hours – which will have to be brought down to about 25 to 30 minutes.
Island to Outback is supported by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund through Country Arts SA