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Artists’ Film International | 2021 | Part Two

Clare Langan | Flight from the City

Clare Langan, Flight from the City, 2015, Music: Jóhann Jóhannsson, High Definition video single channel film, Camera and Editing: Clare Langan, Performers: Tristan Gribbin & Leela Lynn Arni.


Selected by Crawford Art Gallery

Flight from the City (2015) is about connection, love, separation and transition. Starkly shot in ‘black’ water - in the hot springs at Fludir, Iceland - Langan focuses on the powerful bond between a mother and daughter. Whilst the film powerfully addresses universal concerns of humanity in the intimate relationships between a child, a parent or a partner, the title of the film alludes to a potential flight from the safety of a home through adulthood or because of an impending confrontation or armed conflict. The projection of our experiences become part of the film’s narrative and the entwined and distanced bodies, which we view on screen, ultimately become our own.

The film was shot at Fludir, Iceland especially for Jóhann Jóhannsson’s composition Flight from the City. The film was used to launch his 2016 album Orphee.

Artist Q&A 

Clare Langan
Photo by Conor Horgan

Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?
I am from Dublin, Ireland and became interested in the Moving Image while studying Fine Art at NCAD Dublin. I was particularly taken at that time the work of Tarkovsky, and later while studying at NYU, New York I was introduced to the experimental film scene there.

What inspired/influenced you to make the work?
The Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson had created the music for my film The Floating World, 2013, and asked me if I was interested in making a film for him in exchange. So he sent me the track Flight from the City, which then went on to launch his album Orphée. He gave me complete artistic control, and simply to make a film in reaction to his music.  At the time I did not know his story behind the music. I shot the film in Iceland with a close friend of mine Tristan Gribbin and her 9 year old daughter Leela. Tristan had recently lost her father and I too had suffered recent loss, so we discussed making a film about love and loss, connection and letting go. It was only when Jóhann released the album and I read the byline for the that I realized the music has also about his experience of love, loss and transition. “Orphée traces a path from darkness into light, inspired by the Orpheus myth. A story about death and rebirth, the elusive nature of creation and art and the ephemeral nature of memory. It's an album about change, love and art – a reflection of our relationships, as is the film Flight from the City directed and produced by Clare Langan. “

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently doing the post production on a new multi-channel and single channel piece, The Rewilding. It explores the concept of ‘rewilding’, in reaction to recent studies on the mass extinction of animals and plants and the disintegration of the natural world. The film is set in a future world where mankind, animals and nature are more in balance with each other. The film does not set out to create a Utopian vision, but one filled with ‘real possibility’, with a focus on a real awareness of our actions and decisions, no matter how small.

Clare Langan (b. 1967) is an Irish artist and filmmaker. Exhibitions and screenings include Kino Der Kunst, Munich (2020); Physical Cinema Festival, Reykjavik (2019); Shaping Ireland, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (2019); The Best of Kino der Kunst, Dirimart, Istanbul (2018), B3 Biennial of the Moving Image, Frankfurt (2017), Lyon Biennale (2007), and Film Trilogy, MoMA, New York (2004).

Her films have received numerous awards, including the Prix Videoformes 2014, Clermont-Ferrand; the Principle Prize at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (2007) and she represented Ireland at the 25th Bienal de São Paolo (2002).

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