Reading the Water: Lectures on Home Video

Niklas Sven Vollmer

2007, 39:50 minutes, colour, English


Reading the Water is a high-definition (HDCAM) experimental 'home video' and personal-poetic essay that mobilizes the coast of Maine - the sandbox of Vollmer's youth and his marine biologist and naturalist professor-photographer father's area of expertise - as a metaphor for exploring the depths of masculine relationships and family ecosystem sustainability across three generations. The videotape's title employs the idea of 'reading' the surface of water - akin to unpacking the meaning of a photograph - as a means to navigate what is below; it 'reads' the water both in content and form and utilizes playfully reflexive editing techniques to unveil the complex and fragile dynamics of the family ecosystem vis-à-vis a behind-the-scene reveal of the videotape's construction. Additionally, Vollmer harnesses on-screen text to incorporate his (then) 3-year-old son's well-expressed need for emotional presence from his biological 'fathers' - a strategy that also gives voice to the maker's own buried, yet still present, need for his own dad.

In collaboration with Douglas and Tannus Vollmer.

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