This is an abandoned film that was being shot from the Mourne Mountains to the city streets of Belfast from 2003-2008.
There was a narrative thread:
A student who came from a farming background becomes a political activist and drug dealer. Under a shroud of mystery, they are reported missing. One year on, we pick up the narrative, as a family member, ex-bobby, recreates their last known movements. Murder, suicide or a staged death to start a new life?
Audio from a lecture room:
"It has been argued that there is no fundamental difference between fiction and history.
What we know about Julius Caesar - Et tu, Brute? or "καὶ σὺ, τέκνον"
Is derived from a long catalogue of narrative forms;
Storytelling about him that has been rewritten by each generation.
We know as much about Caesar as we know about Molly Bloom.
Something is real but not necessarily what the historians are telling us.
Your man, Derrida, said: "il n'y a pas de hors-texte."
There is nothing outside the text and we should add mobile texting.
All our lives are made up of texts that also function as personal anecdotes.
This is not necessarily true, as obviously, somethings are true;
That ghoulish head skating past the window right now,
The underclass who face poverty and premature death
Or the student loan and its implications for your survival;
All these represent aspects of the real world.”
Images are now presented as open-ended, encouraging the viewer to replay and reconfigure, making up their own story, characters or mood in a variation of a black and white silent film.
The American photographer, W. Eugene Smith, spent several years documenting the city of Pittsburgh in the mid 1950s. He shot 20,000 negatives, but failed to synthesis his vision into a coherent, digestible form that could be rendered in any magazine, book or exhibition. Retrospectively, we are left with a beguiling set of images that anatomizes a city: heart, lungs and soul.
I have attempted a similar project albeit on a far humbler scale, talent wise. Over a period of four years, I visited and photographed Glasgow and Edinburgh with the aim of peeling back the fabric of its built environment. This was a pre-digital project, trusting my vision to the time-delay qualities of film.
Several years went by as I meditated on the project.
I enjoyed looking at Blurb books covering Glasgow and Edinburgh:
Edinburgh 2009-2011, A Photographic Urban Study by Fotis Milionis
The City Breathes (Tales of Urban Soul Searching) by Neil Boyd
Lines and Curves: A Constructivist View Point by Sefa Ucbas
Edinburgh Police Boxes by Malcolm Irving
In 2012, I finally edited and published a photo book called Glasgow and Edinburgh: Built Environment from Gulf War to Harry Potter, 2003-2007.