Portable Stones

Orla Barry's films are like a wall of words built from images or a wall of images built from words. In her work one aspect cannot exist without the other. Born and raised in Ireland, she explores the semantics of her mother tongue, its iconography and the problems of its communication patterns. She uses symbols of togetherness and aloneness to create this. Portable Stones, similarly to her earlier video work, develops a fragmented frame of reference around her texts, with an unmistakable slant of stream-of-consciousness to them. The video is physically constructed like a poem, line-by-line, verse-by-verse, purposefully without any interest in linear narrative, but instead woven like a web of associative and intimately intense reflections and voices.

A girl escapes from the city; she ends up camping in an abandoned graveyard. In the silence there, she becomes involved in a kind of linguistic dream world. She becomes an outsider. She hears voices. These voices carry her through time, they escape the island and cross the sea to meet her, they are memory carriers. They speak of not speaking, the loss of body, and the difficulty of communication in all its forms. The girl starts a new life of waiting, longing and listening. Memory, fantasy and imagination become interwoven with one another. The distance between the "voices" and herself arouses her longing to further enter the dream space of an undead spirit. The continuous use of voice-over and monologue allows Barry to bring an enclosed feeling to the most open spaces like the sea. She ascribes human qualities to the sea; the sea talks, cries, caresses. This is where the voices from the Island converge. Barry dwells on themes such as linguistic intoxication, proximity and distance, melancholy and bliss, friendship and family relationships, the things that bring us together and those that keep us apart.

Directors statement
The film has to do with voices, voices that travel over the sea, unanswered monologues; the difficulty of communication. The false promise of words. The creation of a character by the quality of the voice and the silence which exists around that voice. The voices fill the film. They overflow into the images, creating mute images layered with meaning. The images create space for the voices and the sound. It is a film where voice, image and sound take equal space. The structure of the film has been built like a poem, each part constituting a verse without consideration for linear narrative.

DVD available at Firefly. (info@fireflyprojects.be)