video installation | 1997

2:17 mins | 2 channel | colour | stereo | 4:3 | dimensions variable


'i may be some time..' takes it’s title from the famous last words of Captain Oates, who took his leave of Captain Scott and the rest of the doomed South Pole expedition party in 1912 to walk to his inevitable death in a snow storm.
'I may be some time..' utilises archive footage from a 1926 mapping expedition to the Canadian arctic. This has been re-edited, combined with my own footage, and treated through a number of chemical and electronic processes. The aesthetic result of these processes is a film that is gradually eroding as it progresses temporally.


The fragility of the film and the erasure of the image act as a metaphor for the fragility of memory. The frozen landscape with it's decreasing definition and increasing subtlety of tone similarly mirror the processes of memory and forgetting. Explorers often talk of the perceptual uncertainty inherent in polar latitudes. 'I may be some time…', plays with this perceptual uncertainty. Repetition and the erasure of the image play against the blankness of the landscape and the flakes of snow swirling around the camera lens in the whiteout, blizzard conditions play against the dust and scratches on the surface of the increasingly blank film as it passes through the projector.


The audio directly mirrors the video, and is created from the images themselves (using visual-audio translation software). The images act as a filter with the tonality and colour information in the image affecting the tone and pitch of the audio. The audio evolves slowly from the deep melodic rumble of the ships diesel engine to the pure, piercing sine tone which accompanies the blank white frames at the end of the work.

'I may be some time..' is an exploration of the processes of memory and the frailty of that process. It is about loss and death, perception and blankness, forgetting and letting go. It is about an uncertain space, both physically and metaphysically - a Terra Incognita.