Claire Todd

Claire Todd - Vane

Claire Todd, Lunan Bay, video, 2001

Claire Todd utilises several media in her work to explore the problem of alienation.

In an illusory instant, the film Lunan Bay captures the viewer. Todd synthesises an atmospheric coastal landscape into an allegory of mental escape. Two figures appear over the dunes – an aged man and a young woman – pulling a dark object of some size and weight behind them. The camera closes in.

The woman slowly folds herself inside a seal suit and disappears from us. The older man aids her and sets the seal rolling towards the sea, becoming the fleeing, fleeting being, that can remedy life perhaps only in death against the ebb and flow of the tide, where coming and going intersect before annihilation.

From the first shot to the last, the film is endlessly inflected with the exceptionally beautiful song, Ideale, sung by the last castrato, Alessandro Moreschi. The animal stops before reaching the water’s edge as if in a state of amnesia – the ultimate dereliction. The protagonist remains linked to the fate of the body and its fiction. The final shot in Lunan Bay is the view of an agitated sea, luminous and large, split horizontally between a flat blue ocean and a clear sky fringed with pink-hued clouds. How can one evaluate such an image that possesses an emotive physicality hard to rival? This visually ravishing imagery brims with unsettling implications. In defining an interior dimension and the relationship to that which surrounds it, simply with one’s own body, one might possess the certainty of existing.