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Museum Exhibition

Darren Almond at SITE Festival


5 May - 10 May 2012

SVA, the Site Festival host organisation, is pleased to announce that the opening exhibition will be 'Sometimes Still' by Darren Almond.

'Sometimes Still' is an imposing six-screen high-definition video Almond filmed on Mt. Hiei near Kyoto, Japan, over several years. This will be its first screening in the UK. In the film Almond and his camera accompany a Tendai novitiate monk during a nightly marathon, part of the novitiate's broader engagement with the Buddhist process of Kaihōgyō; a seven year feat of physical and mental endurance by which these monks attempt to reach a state of enlightenment. Considered to be a "limit-experience", the ritual is intended to promote a concentrated, intense experience of body and time, testing the human limits of endurance.

The 25 minute film follows the monk leaving the temple at night, crossing and passing underneath roads and finally returning to the temple at dawn. The camera gradually loses the protagonist from view. This journey through the undergrowth is filmed in such a way as to suggest that it is the viewer who is running. The resonant sound of the monk's heartbeat intensifies the viewer's engagement with the unfolding visual narrative. Frequent appearances of negative images create a strange, wanly lit and immeasurable spatial depth. 

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