Senior lecturer's Trans-Siberian Railway film is a hit with contemporary art gallery

Research news

Wednesday 14 September 2011

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Senior Photography lecturer Elly Clarke has had her film documenting a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railways screened at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes.

The origins of the film date back to 2005, when Elly was invited to participate in a mobile conference that was taking place on the world-famous train line, from Moscow to Beijing.

In order to learn more about the countries and cultures the train was passing through, Elly conducted interviews with passengers she met - including from Russia, Mongolia and China - about their journeys.

She gave every participant a disposable camera to record their own perspectives of the journey.

The resulting work is a three-screen video work entitled ‘Moscow to Beijing’, consisting of three components of differing lengths: ‘Conversations’, ‘Trans-Siberia’ and ‘Translations’ – along with four sets of photographs which chart very different versions of the same journey.

Elly said:

I travelled from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-Siberian train and conducted interviews with passengers from different countries in an attempt to learn more about the cultures than I could have done alone. Since I do not speak their languages, I used pre-written cue cards to facilitate communication and alongside the interviews.

When I got back to England I found speakers of Russian, Mongolian and Chinese to interpret the interviews and I used their exact words as subtitles on the original interview footage.

A five-minute excerpt of Elly's film can be seen here.