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Place of Work

Margaret Tait
1976
31 mins Colour 16mm

Place of Work

"A close study of one garden and house and what could be seen there and heard there within the space of time from June 1975 to November 1975. An evocation of a place (in Orkney) with lifelong associations and latterly used as a work place. A family home, from which at the time of filming, the family had long gone. My own home in childhood and off and on through the years, eventually returned to and worked in (and on). Filmed in the months beforeleaving it...

Place of Work was meant to define a place, or the feeling of being in one place, with the sense this gives one, not of restriction but of the infinite variations available. Inevitable variations with time, with even quite short intervals of time, and voluntary variations according to viewpoint. The specific thing of that very moment at that very place, within a slightly more general thing of there about and never far away, over a period of months (with implications of before and after that, as well). The place I pick on is a house in Kirkwall, Orkney, which was my home form the age of seven, which I often returned to, (which in fact remained my 'permanent address' during travels elsewhere), and which I latterly made my own place of work, for about seven years. At the time of filming, I was living there and working there.

The scheme followed, as the film built up, was to take you from the work table, out the front door, and round the house in an east south, west and north circling; showing the shape of the garden; and then to repeat this circle, with excursions in and out of the house, observing on the way with equal gaze the creatures in the garden, human activity outside the glimpses of town, sea and other islands beyond. Into this come some, in a sense rather obvious, observations about flowers budding, flowering, turning into pods and being shaken and broken by the wind. As the trees are battered bare, we return to the editing bench, overhearing that the telephone is to be left connected 'until Monday'." - Margaret Tate

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