Richard von Sturmer

Tanka Films (2007)

23 min 18 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

"One morning, after returning to live in New Zealand in 2004, I walked into the bathroom and found a moth clinging to the handle of my razor. The verse below formed at that moment, and as I had recently bought a digital camcorder in the United States, I filmed the moth as well. 'the rain is continuous, as a moth is sleeping on the stem of my razor I decide to remain unshaved'.

This would become the first of 26 Tanka Films, tanka being an unrhymed Japanese verse form of five lines. Although I began with five shots to correspond with the five line form of tanka, it soon became unnecessary to adhere to a five-shot sequence; sometimes the filmed images were so strong that only three shots were needed.

Over the two years of filming, a natural thematic development occurred. I started with everyday images from my home and neighbourhood, and then extended the terrain to include a wide range of subject matter.

Ecological concerns began to appear, and the cycle ends with a global perspective in the final Tanka Film: 'there’s a window to the future a window for dreaming your rocket ship is ready, but it’s the earth— the sight of the earth that always draws you back'." —Artist's statement

Other works by Richard von Sturmer

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.