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Fiery Romance

Stuart Marshall
1978

Video Installation

Fiery Romance

A drama-documentary in two parts (each being assigned to a separate screen). Screen 1 shows a close-up image of a pad of paper which is being written on and the edge of a book. The pages of the book are being turned at a speed which suggests that it is being read. A story is being written which vacillates between a direct and impersonal style, a fumbling stream-of-consciousness like attempt to keep up with confused thoughts and very occasionally a reportage type television documentary mode. The act of writing appears to be difficult, the script is only just legible. An ambiguous relationship is set up between the act of writing and that of reading; it is uncertain whether the one who writes is also the one who reads and if so whether the written word is a transcription of the read word or whether the one who writes is simultaneously reading a different text - is both consumer and producer. Occasionally, fragments of speech are heard. Usually the speech is halting and the voice corrects itself, sometimes the tone is assertive and confident. The general impression is that an auto-biography is being constructed with difficulty.

Screen 2 shows images of a burning building, fire engines and firemen. The tape has been colourized a violent red and has a superimposed character generated text. The camera is hand-held and the shots are highly mobile. They are linked by violent jump-cuts which frequently lose synchronisation. The text picks out elements of the written text and introduces other material connoting newspaper headlines and television news reportage. The images is blatantly 'dramatic' and the text in contrast to that of Screen 1 is direct and laconic.

The work is intended to produce a play between television production of drama and the 'dramatic' function of television as relay in news reportage. A similarity between a story and the news-story is indicated which is dependent upon a shared use of the novelistic, the dramatic and narrative.

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