Post Phase: The Summit is Blue

Recently landed: Post Phase: The Summit is Blue, Gracia's written response for Fjord Review

In 1924, Captain John Noel, with the aid of his hand-cranked camera (and steel nerves, I wager) captured footage of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine’s infamous attempt to climb Everest in all its beauty and brutality. The footage, recently restored by the British Film Institute National Archive and with a score composed, orchestrated and conducted by Simon Fisher Turner, saddles a backpack to the shoulder of the viewer even by today’s standards, and leaves me in little doubt as to the majesty of such an environment. Alongside the earliest film records of Tibetan life, the harsh landscape presented is one part awe-inspiring beauty to one part endurance test, and it is this punishing survival element that links an expedition with Chloe Chignell and Timothy Walsh’s new work Post Phase: The Summit is Blue. The landscape traversed in both film (The Epic of Everest: The official record of Mallory and Irvine’s 1924 expedition) and dance is one that covers vulnerability and exhaustion, against a backcloth of extreme conditions.

Post Phase: The Summit is Blue may not have the epic quality of Everest, nor the presence of yaks*, but it does yield a suitable chill in proportion to its means and positioning. By comparison to Everest, a small mound of ice at the back of the upstairs studio space provides the required brrrr to make the teeth chatter. The tone is set, and time marked by the process of watching ice melt.

* "The negatives were sent down the mountain and across the Tibetan plains by yak to Darjeeling where Noel had set up a special laboratory to process the films." Restoring The Epic of Everest, Bryony Dixon, BFI, 17th April 2014

Post Phase: The Summit is Blue (Image credit: Sarah Fiddaman)

Post Phase: The Summit is Blue (Image credit: Sarah Fiddaman)