Isolation consolation, slow looking, seascapes for sleep, art calmatives, visual lullabies, passages across oceanways, supernature, made in confinement, #isoart
NOTES BY GUEST WRITER EMILY STEWART
Scenes for Solace is a primer for sleep, a selection of atmospheric cuts from Stevens’s archive. The viewer falls into scenes obliquely, moving from ocean to village to forest in the company of guides, each of whom ushers forth the next in the private language of codes. Sleep is a strange performance, isn’t it: a prone dark exercise, a gesture with no audience. And when you dream, nothing is itself directly – you can only see who you love from behind.
Last year I received a voicemail from an unrecognised number. When I listened, what I heard was a few long, reedy notes, an insistent voice speaking quickly (but not in any language I could decode) and then a few seconds of a staticky old-time waltz. I had the sensation of being flung into the current of a dream that wasn’t mine.
A particular strain of psychoanalytic thought proposes that the purpose of waking life is to collect objects to take into dreams. But the thrall of Scenes for Solace is in its suggestion that the viewer let go of what they’re carrying. Reaching the film’s final, restful chamber, the weightless participant is ready. Images start to float freely as symbols, and time collapses in – we have moved centuries in both directions.
Good-bye, good-bye little bird!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Emily Stewart is a literary editor and poet.
About Leyla Stevens
Leyla Stevens is a Balinese-Australian artist.