Interview: Amy Lunn

  Charlie Levine  
  October 2015 

Amy Lunn / Half Lives [video still] / 2014

Charlie Levine: Amy, as the inaugural recipient of the Sluice_screens ↄc Prize can you tell us a little bit about you and your work.

Amy Lunn: I am a video artist based in the West Midlands who explores the moving image in relation to architectural space. Many of my works seek to create immersive, sometimes unsettling experiences, through the careful use of a formalist aesthetic. These highly structured compositions are combined with an underlying subtext of social and psychological narrative. I have a fascination for buildings and sites that exist between states. I am drawn to spaces that are either at the point of transformation or stagnation, those caught somewhere between life and death. Their function and purpose remains unfulfilled, their existence may never reach full fruition. Often these spatial environments are represented in a solemn and sobering manner - these are places filled with anxiety, revealing to the viewer a liminal, fragile beauty.

CL: I totally felt that sort of apocalyptic nature within your film 'Half Lives', it also felt like it could be anywhere in the world. I have since watched it with a friend who lives in Birmingham and she could instantly recogonise the location which added a new dimension to it. How important is it that the spaces in your work remain anonymous and how do you feel about it being 'recognised'?

AL:This was a space that I visited and filmed for a number of months, it was a place that seemed to sum up my interests at that time. This space was part of stalled construction project, it was left in a state of inertia as the financial crisis worsened. There was something solemn about this place, a building that would never be completed or fulfil its function - it seemed to be symbolic of the times we were going through, a sense of fear and uncertainty. I build a relationship with each space I film, after many visits I start to understand the subtleties of these places and the strange beauty that resides within, so it’s interesting when people recognise particular locations and often have similar thoughts about those spaces as well. However, these construction projects exist in every city and town, particularly as most industrial or commercial buildings are generic and modular in nature, so for me the work represents the wider national and global situation.

Amy Lunn / Half Lives [video still] / 2014

CL: Is this piece purposefully political / commenting on the financial crisis or was it more about the beauty of this frozen / forgotten / abandoned moment?

AL: Its both - initially I was drawn to this space because of the quiet and unassuming beauty, this skeletal structure which was the foundation of a new beginning. By visiting the site over a number of months I began to understand and record the nuances of the changing light, shadow and atmosphere. I was anxious about filming the space because normally they change so quickly and I want to capture them in a certain moment. But this one didn't seem to change, it was stalled and lay dormant. This then became part of my interest and it made me think about the wider social and economic implications. The soundtrack that accompanies the work creates an ominous atmosphere, suggesting a darker tone that links back to the the unsettled financial times.

CL: What's next for you? What film are you working on at the moment and what's interesting you in the world that you'd like to talk about in your work?

AL: Recently I’ve been working on interior spaces, looking at the conduits and the inner workings of buildings. I’ve been tracking these conduits in quite a repetitive way which ends up being disorientating. However working under artificial lighting has made me realise that I really enjoy working with natural lighting and changeable conditions. Cities are always in a process of change, so at the moment I’m looking at a number of spaces that are in the process of transformation. s

  Amy Lunn is the inaugural winner of the Sluice_screens prize. Half Lives will be exhibited at Sluice_2015 on Sunday 18th October 2015.

The Sluice_screens prize is a new award for a screen based artists and was organised by Sluice__ with Berlin based ascribe, an online organisation which promotes the correct credit and copyright for screen based artists. The Sluice_screens ↄc Prize is a new and innovative prize designed specifically for a new generation of artists who are working digitally with video, sound, and web. The competition was judged by Charlie Levine (Sluice__curator), Ali Hilmans(The Hospital Club curator) and Maria McConaghy (ascribe COO and curator). Over 200 artists entered and each work was judged anonymously on its merits.