The BFI Gallery has been transformed into a space-observatory for Simon Faithfull’s installation of videos, models and an animation of his various Escape Vehicles. The crepuscular gallery space, with its multiple screens creates a feeling of tranquillity. The reverberating sonar and the visuals of the videos become both mesmerising and soothing.
The two channel video for Escape Vehicle no.7 shows an empty orange boiler suit that seems to be listlessly struggling to stand up before it attempts another flight, as the weather balloon it is attached to bobs about in the wind. In a glass case is a matchstick model of a chair attached to three flies by wires, a design inspired by a breeze of imaginative fantasy that suppresses rationality. All his inventions recall those early madcap flying machines that were largely disastrous. Faithfull conducts methodical perseverance to create a successful makeshift contraption to reach the moon.
One video shows chair that spins as it ascends into the atmosphere. Gravity is triumphantly defied! As part of the exhibition each viewer is offered a postcard depicting a boiler suit attached to a hot-air balloon fashioned from dustsheets, floating off into a halcyon Oxfordshire sky. Combining a certain amount of scientific knowledge with a youthful imagination, Faithfull’s desire to escape the surface of the earth is fulfilled by at least some of his creations.
17 july – 20 September 2008