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Seven Days 
1974, 20 min, colour, sound, 16mm
Seven Days

The location for this film was by a small stream on the northern slopes of Mount Carningly in southwest Wales. The seven days were shot consecutively and appear in that order. Each day starts at the time of local sunrise and ends at the time of local sunset. One frame was taken every ten seconds throughout the hours of daylight. The camera was mounted on an equatorial stand which is a piece of equipment used by astronomers to track the stars. In order to remain stationary in relation to the star field, the mounting is aligned with the Earth's axis and rotates about its own axis at approximately once every 24 hours. Rotating at the same speed as the Earth, the camera is always pointing at the either its own shadow or the sun. Selection of image, (sky or Earth; sun or shadow), was controlled by the extent of cloud coverage, i.e. whether the sun was in or out. If the sun was out, the camera was turned towards its own shadow; if it was in, the camera was turned towards the sun. A shotgun microphone was used to sample sound every two hours. These samples were later cut to correspond, both in space and time, with the image on the screen.

There are two aspects to the structure of this film. i) The camera motion is mechanistic; time is accurately calibrated in frames, seconds, and minutes, and space is organized according to geometric principals which govern the operation of the Equatorial Stand. ii) The in-camera editing, however, is not at all mechanistic and is governed by the unpredictable nature of the weather: by the amount of cloud cover, which varied from day to day and by the speed of the clouds drifting across the sky, which depended on the strength of the wind. The final shape of the film is consequently a product of the interaction between the predictable mechanistic nature of technology and the chance-like qualities of the natural world.

Seven Days invites the viewer to contemplate the complex relationship between the structures we invent in order to observe the natural world and the structure we perceive as a result of those observations. The resulting sequences of images suggest a relationship between technology and nature based on principles other than exploitation and domination.

Acknowledgements: Made with assistance from the Arts Council of Great Britain.