UK, 2000, 7 minutes
Colour, Sound, Video
To be projected in total darkness; French-subtitled version available
Mark Aerial Waller's unique and terrifying video work, Midwatch, is set aboard a battleship recently returned from operation Mosaic; the first British nuclear bomb test in the south Atlantic. It is based on conversations held with survivors of this test. Waller has found the extraordinary ability to transform these events into a poetic realm.
In Midwatch, a mutineer from the tests and a time travelling caterer from Nelson's fleet remain onboard. A battle of wills ensues between the two, as Nelson's geographic progress to power is set against the nuclear bomb tests of the 1950's; a collision between a barely remembered Imperial omnipotence and a barely understood technology of nuclear manipulation .
The film was shot in total darkness using infrared equipment. Neither the actors, nor Waller on camera, could see one another. The filming itself was thrown into the realm of nightmare, as any sense of ego is removed, allowing a more profoundly intense personality to seep out.
Mark Aerial Waller's brilliance as a video artist delivers a savage indictment of a technological society, where the delirious language of military technology is annihilated by the language of poetry.
Midwatch, who could foresee what happened in 1953?' MARK E SMITH, The Unnutterable