Introduction | Filming STONE project
The Stone Project had two intensive years of travelling in different countries in order to do a cross-cultural study of stone workers. Video recording was our main objective in order to build an archive of disappearing skills/tools linked to the work on stone.
For practical reasons of mobility and budget I opted for a light camera (Sony V1 Hdv) set up with a mic on top and no tripod. Normally ethnographic filmmakers see their job as strictly recording situations, processes, and systems from far away without any interference. My background being in creative documentary and my interest being in human beings, I filmed as closely as possible to the people from the inside. I tried with my camera to translate and visualise the feelings, the emotions of our participants. The profound sense of serenity and pride rooted in the soul of everyone we met working with stones, regardless of their financial background or working conditions, was overwhelming. The camera became a tool of serendipity: finding something when you are looking for something else. At times our interviews were more like a Harold Pinter conversation! Jigsaw shards that did not seem to fit together and yet with so much more underneath, all revealed during the long process of editing. We ended up with a huge range of short films, some more experimental than others but in any case the playing with images and sound in the edited footage brought memory to the stone landscape.
Professor Noemie Mendelle
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