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Chris Welsby
Welsby developed as an artist during a period when Structural filmmaking was at its height in Britain, and he acknowledges connections between his own development of a film language, and the explorations of his peers, such as Peter Gidal and Malcolm Le Grice.

Whilst happily embracing overt subject-matter in his films when others didn't, he shared the Structuralist concern that the processes of filmmaking should be transparent, and that this desire for transparency is central to an understanding of the work.

Welsby saw his film Seven Days [1974] as, 'very much a structural film in the sense that it's to do with the structure of the rotation of the planet.' Here, time was condensed to one frame taken every ten seconds for a week during all daylight hours, the camera tracking the sun's position in the sky from horizon to horizon, using an astronomer's equatorial mount to determine its position. Making the film became a kind of performance and even an endurance test, (not unlike his contemporary Richard Long's landscape walks) in which the makers struggled with exhaustion, (Welsby on this occasion was helped by the filmmaker Jenny Okun) and are even caught on-screen desperately wiping rain from the lens-cover. Fluctuations in wind-power were also central to the trio of films Windmill III, Anemometer and Tree (all 1974). In the first, changes of speed alter the degree to which a windmill with mirrored blades set in front of the camera becomes 'transparent' (when spinning fast) or 'reflective' (when spinning slowly), alternately opening up the space behind and in front of the camera. In the second, wind-speed actually drove the camera motor, its variations influencing both the perceived speed of action in a cityscape, and the exposure of the filmstrip, the latter altering both the light/dark relationship in the image and the amount of detail visible. In Tree, the simplest, a camera strapped to a branch moves as its host does, scanning a wooded landscape from the tree's vantage point.

Stream Line (1976) was shot in 'real' time and consists of a tracking shot of a fast-flowing streambed viewed vertically from just 3 feet (one meter) above its turbulent surface, the hard straight-line of the track contrasting with the churning, swirling movements of the water, accompanied by 'live' sound. (The richness of the soundtrack delighted one of the film's first reviewers, the sound artist Paul Burwell).

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Installation view of Shore Line I by Chris Welsby (1974)
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