Sandy Gibbs

Recalling Tui (2016)

10 minSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

"'Recalling Tui' records my attempts to restage from memory a phone call I had made to my childhood hero, the swimmer Tui Shipston, to ask if she would take part in restaging a 50-year-old swimming final from the 1968 Mexico Olympics. She firmly said “No”, and I tried my hardest to keep her on the line, but then she was gone.

Later, I kicked myself that I hadn’t documented the phone call. But given it had been such a brief encounter, I felt sure I could remember it word for word. Easy, I thought, as I set up a video camera a couple of months later in my lounge. But I couldn’t remember what I had said. Instead, the video took shape as a single 10-minute work made up of repetitions, half-started, and unfinished sentences, pauses and some really awkward silences.

My anxious efforts to replay the conversation activate what could be described as an uncomfortably dark humour that exploits uncertainty; a human earnestness at once both comic and despairing that becomes more and more painful and embarrassing as I stumble through endless repetitions."

—Artist's statement

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