Margaret Tait I. Where I Am Is Here

Margaret Tait’s work, filmed on 16 mm with a Bolex, is largely related to her homeland, the Orkney Islands and Scottish Highlands, her ‘childhood paradises’. Moving between documentary, poetry, portrait, home movies, animation and music, this is an emotional, intimate atlas of that world and culture in a rhythmic, sensory and autobiographical constellation of presences, houses, gardens and the nature of small things.

After studying filmmaking at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome between 1950 and 1952, Tait - who had a degree in medicine - returned to Scotland, where she founded her small production company, Ancona Films, used to self-finance most of her 32 films shot between 1951 and 1998.

Her films, secret for a long time, actually always used secrecy as the main driving force for attracting or stalking images (Stalking the Image was the title of the MoMA’s retrospective of Tait). "By ‘secrets’ I mean just things like, which doors lead to where, how far the light reaches in, the feeling of being on the stairs and all sorts of other things which I have carried about with me without necessarily thinking about them, but which led me, eventually, to point the camera at one thing rather than another".

The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo, 1955, 16 mm, 7 min; Place of Work, 1976, 16 mm, 31 min; Tailpiece, 1976, 16 mm, 10 min; Where I Am Is Here, 1964, 16 mm, 35 min; Aerial, 1974, 16 mm, 4 min; Colour Poems, 1974, 16 mm, 12 min; Garden Pieces, 1998, 16 mm, 12 min.

Copies courtesy of Lux. VOSC.

11 February 2021


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