I have just uploaded a series of images I extracted from video which I have called Patinas of Place. I was ‘drifting’ around Hanoi walking with my video camera. This is one of my personas. I like to drift with a camera in my hand and shoot whatever. You well may ask what drifting is. Its pedigree starts really in the 1960s with the Situationists and psycho-geography. It also has connections to Baudelaire’s flaneur. For me, it is about being as invisible as I can be drifting around streets simply looking and experiencing. If something or someone catches my eye I follow. (This is not to be confused with stalking.) It is one of my favourite things to do and getting utterly lost in urban mazes can be transcendental, truly. Experience of place is a luxury given all the pressure to be constantly connected, to have somewhere to go and someone to meet.
I shot the video extracted the images almost a year ago while on sabbatical leave. I worked with them for a while using various printmaking techniques and my trusty scanner. A couple of them were actually realised in the material world. Then I was back in the swim of work. I looked at them today, anew. I thought about what I was trying to express through this exercise. I had called the series Patinas of Place. I was totally seduced by the word ‘patina’ – both pronunciations roll so smoothly off the tongue, almost like toffee, rich and gleaming.I used to refer to the idea that places are overlaid with histories and memories. I was trying to express this idea through my images – kind of a tension between now and then and the transience of everything.
I remembered how delicious it was to have threes days in a row where I did not have to consider another soul. I was blissfully alone with my feelings, my thoughts and my camera and the abundant streets of Hanoi. This is a persona I had put aside for a while. Yet this persona feeds me.