Installation at the Lux, Valence 2007
Richard Fenwick, is a calm and thought provoking contemporary English director with a current installation touring as part of the Onedotzero Fesitval. The installation is entitled ‘rnd#’ and is comprised of 22 short films which are part of an on-going collection of works intended for completion only after reaching a challenging 100 in total. The recurrent theme that will link this ambitious project is based upon a critical view on technology or to be more precise, technology’s effect on humanity and indeed vice versa. He raises fundamental questions on present day technology, some of which are common day such as the video remote control or even the shopping trolley. Others treat more complex subjects and often have a political slant such as, ‘Economic Growth’ or ‘What We’ve Found Out About Stem Cells’.
The work as an ensemble of 22 films already shows great form and provokes some very important yet little talked about subjects in the domain of design. Furthermore the temporal aspect of the installation is intriguing because with a full 100 films (a few more years to go I would say!), the work will in effect be a documentary on a time line. However what I found interesting in Richard’s work, aside his profound ideas, is his ability to use graphical elements with pertinence. With a graphic design background, Richard says that using graphics within his films enables him to add another layer of reading to his work. It is a handy technique which can enrichen not just the visual but more imporantly the communicatve side to film making. In ‘VCR’ for exemple which is a documentary film of his grandmother using a video remote control, he represents the control’s interface as a graphic on screen. This graphic both in its style as its representation of the object enforces the meaning of the narrative. And this is exactly what sets Richard aside from the speed on screen crowd of present in the motion arena. It is his ability to work in a hybrid medium with a great sensitivity towards visual meaning.