Detail of exterior of RACER RECAPTURED

Click here to view installation images.

RACER is made up of one shot that records the circular movements of the camera for 13 minutes 44 seconds. The camera’s movements trace the contours of an architectural structure situated in a landscape. The location for the shot was Donabate beach in North County Dublin, Ireland. The architectural structure was a Martello tower built by British Army Engineers at the beginning of the 19th Century to defend British territories from Napoleonic invasions. During the 20th Century the tower was also used as a domestic residence and is now derelict. It is a site of historical significance in Dublin and of personal significance to the artist. Initially recognizable, the building’s forms and location are absorbed by the movement of the camera and become part of the film, more than just a subject.

A rotating mechanism based on the dynamics of a cordless drill and is fitted to a camera tripod was conceived by the artist and produced by a campus company to create the desired camera motion. It was specifically designed to fit a semi-professional digital video camera (3 chip Panasonic DV11). No special effects have been added in the postproduction process.

The sound work for Racer acts as a catalyst for the visual elements. It consists of a sound that is of a bird indicative to the environment of the tower, a Curlew. The soundwork was produced before the film. Phelan listened to the resulting sound work when shooting the one shot video footage and used it to influence the speeds and rhythms of the camera movements.

The brief for the work was 'Capture the inexplicability of the moment and the beauty inherent within that concept’.

RACER the video was funded by The Arts Council of Ireland.
Click here to view installation images.
Images by Brendan Bourke and Ger O'Sullivan.