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News A year's journey

This week the installation of my Tracer exhibition in the Woon Tai Jee studio at BALTIC 39 has begun. Walls have been coated a rich slate grey, new walls are being built, equipment is starting to arrive.

It is almost a year (minus a few days) since the first day of filming on the morning of the Great North Run – a year’s journey now about to be made public in the shape of a three channel video installation. The video runs for twenty one minutes, one minute for every kilometre of the run.

And this Sunday I will run the 21km myself, my first Great North Run. Along the route I will pass all those locations we filmed; in my mind I will run past the early snowy mornings in Fellgate and the late afternoon sun illuminating the allotments in Simonside.

But first the exhibition, then the Run.

The final edit of the film revolves around the logic of how the camera moves, and it is the camera that provides rhythm – like a metronome or the drums in a song.

Sound is crucial to the work, it creates both continuity and rupture. The soundtrack is constructed from ambient sound recorded during filming but often used out of synch. There are two dominant sound elements: the deep rumble of cars crossing the bridge, recorded inside the Tyne Towers, and the high pitched humming recorded at the beach at South Shields – one sound from the start the other from the end of the Run, one urban and mechanical the other produced by nature.

The film has become as much a portrait of the North East, its light and epic skies, as it is a reflection on how human movement articulates spaces through its particular gestures. After a year of filming with the ten parkourists from Apeuro Freerunning I see environments differently, read them in terms of their potential for movement.

No freerunning for me though, I’ll stick to the long-distance, joining the largest group of people I’ll ever run with.


Winner of our 2013 Moving Image Commission, artist Melanie Manchot will be blogging about making her film, Tracer which features ten North East parkour runners, or traceurs, making their way along the course of the Bupa Great North Run.
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