Lucas: notes from Long Film for Ambient Light

16 march 2007

noon (written at 1.30pm)

I pressed go on the timer. Set it to 23 hours 59 minutes. But we still were setting up, so didn’t really take the moment to just be here. Kat was still vacuuming. The space felt clean and neat, there was a “coming into clarity” about the whole thing. But we weren’t quite there yet. I was aware of being slightly stressed with regards to this. Would have been better if we were ready in advance, but I was also quite amused that the film starts whether you are ready or not. In some sense, the film is kind of indifferent to my responses. It doesn’t care if I “attend” to it or not. On the other hand, the film needs me – without me, it is nothing. Maybe.


Just rang Chris Fl. to invite him along. Its doubtful that he’ll make it which is a shame. He said “sounds like a natural screensaver” (somewhat faceciously). But I liked that idea a lot.


Anne W. has been in the space for about 25 minutes. She’s been pacing around with this “residue sheet” – not sure if the sheet really helped at all – perhaps not – I’m writing all over it myself (rather than filling it in properly). Can’t tell but my impression is that Anne feels unsure about whether she’s “doing the right thing” – this confusion could be a big part of peoples’ experiences here. (?)

Anne W says that Chris Fo. will call us on the mobile and come around 4am to see the dawn with us.


Just had a chat with Louise C., recorded it. Anne W. left 20 mins before that. The conversation with AW ranged from “the difficulty of separating feelings from sensations” (something I feel also) to interpretive leaps (finding meaning in things). She said – about the timeline drawing and the wall statement “notes in duration” – that they made her feel “supported”. I’m not sure if I understood her right, but I interpreted this a bit like: she felt that the drawing and statement helped give an idea of what McCall was trying to do – his own grappling, which led the staging of this work as a way of trying to come to terms with problems he’d been worrying about back in 1975. Perhaps this took the pressure off Anne in having to imagine what the work was supposed to “be about” – meaning she could relax a little into just being here and allow whatever happens to just happen. I think the form we gave her to fill in (thoughts sensations feelings) was slightly stressful for her, trying to slot things into boxes, but she seemed to move beyond that, and some useful observations emerged from her filling out the form. She noticed wanting/wishing she could stay longer. She said (aloud) that this was a “longing”. She also noted that she became more tuned to noticing things in the room, small details like the pencil marks on the wall.

Anne W notes transcribed:

a rising

not long enough!
_this_ time frame
or mine?

some place

Is it a thought?
to notice things?
the pencil marks
the big rusted screws
some missing
ah! some missing
liek longing or
like not not knot

to walk,
keep moving
things I
already said
that under

to stay
to _be_ a

sad. can’t
be long.

an urge to make
an entry on the
time/interval scroll
on the wall. to make
“my” entry and exit.
to be recorded.
Is _this_ the fillem?

I could write in
It’s some kind of
permission or
per mission, that this
space/time seams
to offer.


It’s hard to see our current dilemma as “interesting” and “part of the work” although it most certainly is. But how to? The left top window covering is starting to pull away, the gaffa hasn’t adhered to the fabric well enough. The trouble with this is that it isn’t easy to get access to the scissor lift, which is the only way to reach up into the corner and stick it back on again. This isn’t a bad time for it to be happening, since we’ve got no visitors and Vic’s around to help us out. Things could be worse. But I am a bit hungry and I was just on my way out to get something for us to eat when it happened. Then Vic brought us a small scissor lift but we had difficulty getting it to work, and besides, even when it finally kicked in, the reach of it is not wide enough to get into the corners. So I re-fixed the gaff in the middle, and we’re waiting for the big scissor lift to fix the outer bits. But hte big scissor is stuck in the theatre with some scaffold on top of it, and it can’t be removed until the builders return to disassemble the scaffold. Wow this sounds so boring.

Message from Anne W.:

16 March 2007
I want to keep
being probed by
it. it’s like being
offered a pulse
to take whilst
being a pulse
being taken. and
a pulse is
something to be
nourished by.
do i
read too much
into it? no but i
think its
profound what
you are doing by
not doing…
much. and now i
worry about the
intrusion of this
text. what can i
say? this is
residue. do i
have to …weight?
to let it
settle? moor?
but it’s so moorish!
anne w


The sticking back I did of the fabric on the top left window seems to be holding. Just now having a visit from Katie D., Brian F., Peter V. Katie and Peter are sitting near me on the gym mats.

K, B and P have just left. They weren’t interested in being recorded per se., but they (esp P) wanted to ask _me_ a bunch of questions. The hardest one was about what _I_ had learned from doing this piece. That was a really difficult question to answer. I just talked about noticiing my own sensations and trying to come to grips with the idea that being in here, everything is valid and equivalent (at least within the scope of the film’s conceptual structure) – but how hard it was to accept problems like the fabric dislodging from the gaffa as equivalent and valid, and my irritation at that as important as the blissful feeling of watching the light change.

Brian talked about how the work made him conscious of the outside – or – conscious _on_ the outside, when he was outside the space. (He didn’t spent much time in here – he went off looking for milk to put in the tea we gave him, and didn’t return for quite a while – but he said the consciousness of space and time created by the work affected him even on his quest for milk.) Peter said “some people would find it really difficult to just be in here”.

Just tried to get the builder’s scissor lift to work, to fix the fabric. No go. Will have to wait till the theatre one becomes available after seven.

(Thinking about our provision of all the extra information via the zine and the reading folders). The work is “didactic” which is what I told K, P and B. In a way it says –

“hey, how do you normally use time and space? Instrumentally, right? You use them as tools to get things done, they are your friend or enemy depending on how much of them you have available (the more the better, right?). But why don’t you “use” them a bit differently? Why don’t you let them be their own things, in fact, not really “use” them at all?”

The didactic nature of the work – maybe its a bit like how mindfulness class or yoga is didactic – it’s about putting certain ideas in your head so that you can think differently about the way you do ordinary things. And with this piece – it’s the same. So providing extra info to our visitors (increasing the didactic material) might not hurt so much. The kind of experience one might have would change with the extra information provided, but that’s no loss. Surely (?) a more aware/attentive experience is the result? That’s a good thing, right?

Thinking about time. How much time has passed. Almost a quarter of the available time. It seems to have “flown” – I have no sense of boredom or of dragging or tedium. There has been too much to do, and I have had to snatch moments of quiet from in between the visits and the fixing of the fabric on the window. I wonder if time will drag differently during the night. Almost certainly it will.

Louise is with Russell E from Performance Studies at U Syd, who has just come to visit.
(to be continued)

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Walty’s poems are very rich. As she has only her imagined/implied sensations of the 24 hours, I can imagine it becomes very enriched as she like what she had. She talked about her sadness at not being able to stay. I had a related sense that I wanted a space that does this (insistent nothingness or insistent solid presence without action or opinion, timelessness) to continue. Landscape has this sense of continuity for me.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *