Emily Orley

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She longs for parallel versions of herself


A series of works made for a one-month online artist residency at the Belgrade Art Studio, culminating in a short film. The theme of the residency was 'artist on standby'. The final 6 minute work explores ideas to do with standing-by, in several senses: being full of readiness and expectation, and having to stay beside, not touching or acting. I wanted to play with the tension between the enforced stasis we have all been subject to under lockdown and the sense of longing it has evoked. The slow-moving diptych reflects the place I find myself in now (London) and the place I have imagined being while on this residency (Belgrade). I set myself the constraint of focusing on one small but impossible gesture: that of opening the door to the Belgrade Art Studio from over 2,000 kilometres away. I used images (moving and still) and sounds recorded in and just outside my own home only. The slow map/leaf image was a way of experimenting with thinking about our nervous system (and sense of touch) as both a real and imagined place.

Many thanks to Alice Helps and Jane Rendell for their inspiring words and ideas, and to Katja Hilevaara for her voice.