What would you say with your last breath? What does your last breath sound like? Some contemplations of my recent visit to Northamptonshire and returning visit and shoot in Catalonia. Steam is the last breath, the vapour that extrudes from machines of a bygone era. I bore witness to the simplicity of the design of the boiler and piston system both in Irchester and in Rushen upon my second visit and made use of my access to these mesmeric machines in some of the stop motion work I captured for the shoot. The idea of temporality is ever present in this project. Volunteers and railway enthusiasts bring these machines back to life, like raising the dead, or spirits. Steam translates as Vapor in Catalan, which is very close of “Vapour”. This emparts an image of spirit, or of an object of a transmutative capabilities. So in the true history of moving image I bring the dead back to life.. maybe in a kind of Ed Wood way, with cardboard and cotton wool, tape and glue. This resurrection is only temporary, and is done using found domestic objects and materials to recreate the age of Steam.
The Below moving image clip is taken from our observations of the scene whilst setting up for my “Lost Luggage” short. The moving clip was captured by Owen Tooth of Threshold studios who assisted on this scene. I am very grateful for the staff and volunteers of the Rushden Transport Museum who assisted us with moving several engines and carriages and allowed access to various machines and operating systems on the line.
Some preparatory sketches from the shooting schedule inspired by Buster Keaton and Dress Codes emphasised by Lillias Campbell Davidson: