James St Findlay
INTERVIEW W JAMES ST FINDLAY FOR THE WHITE PUBE'S NANNY CAM FILM SCREENING *
can you tell me about the video u submitted for Nanny Cam?
I was reading about this Joanna Newsom song called "En Gallop" once and I read this story somebody had written about how the song reminded them of when their house burnt down. They'd had two dogs that had been caught in the fire, along with loads of pigeons that lived in their attic. The guy said that listening to the song reminded him of walking around the grounds of his burnt down house, with the smell of burnt wood and feathers in the air. I loved that image, of somebody walking around the charred black floorplan of a former home, listening to this sweet and sad song. I guess that's kind of how last winter felt for me baby, and the footage in the film was all taken whilst staying at friends houses, or out for walks either on my own or with somebody. I had no idea what i wanted the film to be while I was making it, I was just compiling these videos and songs I'd made and hoping it all worked out. It's different from most other things I've made, but watching it back i think it really reflects the bleak but deliriously hopeful atmosphere last winter.
what does it feel like to be outside-outside in nature on ur own?
I love it and have always loved it and hope that I will always continue to love it. I watch dogs flounder in the muck and I watch sunlight part the leaves of trees and sometimes (once) I lie down, I rest my head on a mound of blue-green moss beside a deer fence and I try and fall asleep. I was recently on a residency on an island off the coast of scotland which was completely silent. There were plankton in the water that, if you dipped you hand in and shook it about, glowed brightly like pieces of glitter dropped off the pier. I should have leapt in! I should have let myself fall back into that water but I didn't!
do you have any pets? if yes what u got if not what would you like?
I have never had a pet, I have never had to truly care for another living thing in the sense that without me it would die. I have helped friends with tasks, assisted people I care about, but never have I had an animal or being which relies on me entirely to survive. If I could have a pet I'd have a soft and gentle dog that would walk patiently beside me with no need for a leash. As I grew old, the dog would remain the same, and then, upon my death bed I would give a signal and it would consume me graciously and carry me with it for the rest of it's life!
do you think you get seasonal affective disorder? i 100000% do. summer is a relief. you know how cells reproduce n your body is supposed to be a new body every 7 years, that’s how i feel after winter.
I don't know anyone who doesn't feel sad in winter. Although beautiful, winter a dark and sad time of year. I have such a loathing for january and february, I don't understand how those months are enjoyable. Also I think your skin cells are fully regenerated after 7 years but your skeleton takes about a decade to SWITCH OVER to UPGRADE. In that sense I've had two skeletons so far (working on number three right now). I just watched a video about how deep the ocean really is (over 35,000 ft deep at it's deepest known point) and in the video there was a little animation a guy swimming (for scale). He was me in winter, deep deep down in The Abyss (aka: when the ocean is about 16,300 ft deep) frantically swimming up through november, december, january and february and surfacing in march.
what’s the best exhibition experience u have had?
I went to the berlin Bienalle last year and there were loads of really beautifully installed pieces. One of them was a film called "The Heart Wants What It Wants" by Cecile B Evans and it was this huge T-Shaped pier in a flooded gallery with a massive screen that reflected in the water and you wore wireless headphones and I felt very immersed in it. I also saw a Ryan Trecartin film where you sat on these kind of bunk beds that had almost gym matresses instead of beds and it felt like a strange hotel.
The best for me though in terms of how much I felt was seeing Marina Abramovic's "512 hours" at The Serpentine in 2014. I feel like a lot of people I've met really hated it, and found it shallow and cult-like and pretentious and I was set out to feel like that but there was a point at which she locked eyes with me, took my hand, walked me slowly to a bed, and tucked me in, and in those few minutes with her I felt totally and utterly cared for, I felt alone in the space with her and regardless of whether it was or not it felt so genuine. Even just to have my hand held and my eyes looked into was so special, not because she was famous or an artist I particularly admire, but because not since childhood have I felt so looked after by somebody. I fell asleep for a while and then left with my friend.
i love your writing
have you ever thought about writing a book? I have but i find it hard to talk in fiction.
I'd love to write a book but I reckon it'd b a load of small bits rather than one long story
what's the best art thing you’ve ever made?
I did a performance in my final year of graphic design where I fed everyone soup, and there was a paddling pool and I had a wife who was pregnant. my brother played music and I sung whilst drumming on my wife's back and she sung and her voice juddered and ululated to the rhythm and it was like an angel! there's a video but I haven't put it online yet. everyone was well fed, soothed and received a little clay baby at the end. one person even swallowed their gift in a fit of complete euphoria! the atmosphere was great, the meal was delicious and the whole thing felt REAL like not just a performance but a REAL EXPERIENCE. I loved it, and none of my tutors came which was nice because I always really loathed their presence and felt unable to genuinely enjoy myself when they were around. it wasn't marked and it made no impact on my final grade which was bittersweet, but ultimately I wasn't doing it for my course I was doing it for MY BABIES (friends, loved ones, self).
what music have you been listening to lately?
recently my friend sent me the song from a Wu Tsang video which is this insane saxophone piece called "Adjust" by a guy called Bendik Giske and it's unlike anything I've heard before. I wanna swim in it and I wanna die in it and I also want to eat it.
and finally can u link me to a song you really feel is meaningful n inside ur heart?
mega underrated nina babe tune
U CAN FOLLOW JAMES ON INSTAGRAM HERE