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4 Why film?

Film is important to the stone project archives because it is able to capture the sequences and movements of a process, something that our huge archive of still images does not do well.  Film is important to this particular research because movements documented by film are less likely to be misread (or aestheticised) than is a still image. 

Our aim has always been to capture an entire procedure.  To do so we frame things with enough distance to include the context of any motion. That means recording the craftsman’s entire body, showing how placement of the feet determine force and balance, and how stance and balance might change as different movement of an action change. We also film the point of action as an extreme close up, perhaps revealing more than the actual craftsman sees.  We want to capture enough information on film so that others in the future, who will certainly have different research questions and powers of observation than we do at this moment, can also use our raw data.

Attention to tool use allows us to study several sets of interacting relationships: the tool and process, the tool and material, or the tool and the body of the craftsman. Throughout our investigation viewing two things at once has revealed insights that isolated investigations would not reveal. Tools do more than expedite a process. Whenever a person uses a tool it shifts the balance of the body. This establishes its own oblique approach and a fresh perspective.

There are 150 hours of unedited film footage in our research archive.  Most of this been recorded through the lens of the award winning filmmaker Noe Mendelle, who has been further editing this material into small films.

In an echo of the reductive approach of carving as she makes these short films Noe searches for the human heart of the story, editing out of the raw footage, whatever is superfluous to that view.


Jake Harvey taking photos during STONE research travel in IndiaNoe Mendelle filming masons at a workshop in India

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