This was firstly inspired by a video clip I found on Youtube whilst searching for videos about rice production in different places. That video titled Bag drop test features two workers in a rice factory repeatedly lifting and dropping a big bag of rice to test its durability (fig.1). The action struck me as something incredibly fluid and mesmerizing. I found the rhythm in the visual action and the sound generated from the bag dropping hypnotising.
Testing the durability of the bag of rice suggests something about the intensity of the journey that bag might make. I was interested in this journey and the labour involved. What does it mean to transport or displace something from one place to another? What are the physical and sculptural issues?
I became focused on the journey of carrying this bag of rice around. I was strongly influenced by a series of documentaries called The death of a working man which follows several groups of people around the world who work jobs of extreme labour. The cameras closely follow the protagonists from behind which creates a striking composition. I was also influenced by a feature film Called Let each one go where he may by Ben Russell. The film adopts a similar visual structure by closely following two unidentified brothers as they make a journey through vastly changing landscapes and environments in Suriname, including work environments. I wanted to employ the same structure of a camera following the characters that make this journey. It is cinematic but is also a conceptually simple way to film the journey. The viewer might be made to feel that they are also on this journey.
I wanted the walk to end at the river Thames because of the association of trade and transport it has. Starting the journey on Deptford High Street outside the shop where the rice was bought is a reflection of my increasing desire to make work in, and about the place where I live.
It seemed to make sense to carry the 40kg bag of rice with brother Miles not just because he’s really strong (fig.7) but similarly to the rice itself, to consider where we are all from and where we exist.
The video was filmed by friends Femi Ladi and Manuel Nashi. Screening the video where it was filmed completed the work. We’re still eating the rice.
On Friday 27 & Saturday 28 July BAG DROP was screened on Watergate street as part of Deptford X fringe festival. Projecting the video in the same situation where it was filmed with an accompanying text completed the work.
Directed by Duval Timothy,
Featuring Duval Timothy & Miles Timothy
Filmed by Femi Ladi & Manuel Nashi