“I don’t know why they care” – the last words narrated in Lucy Clout’s video, ‘Warm Bath’ (2016) on show at Limoncello. This quote sums up my experience of the video piece I had just watched, as the two interlocking videos on display place great emphasis on documenting the most mundane passing moments of our surroundings. Whilst being monotonously entertaining, I left without any real capacity for a visceral feeling or deeper poignancy.
A home video, shot by Clout records the damage and activity of water in the property she shares with six other women, including shots of, mildew, damp, condensation and water droplets. A narrator highlights details on the tenant’s obsession with the movement of fluid, “Some women will only piss or spit in the corner of the basement, so their fluids leave in one direction.” A second video, this time a piece of found footage, features a narrator who films a particular drainage ditch twice a day, every day in sunny Southern California with a particular focus on the ducklings that inhabit the waterworks.
Our perspective is internalised in the psyche of the two filmmakers. Noticeably, an idea of coexistence is made apparent in the films, with mammals living alongside active micro-organisms in both the house and the landscape. Clout’s persistence in expressing different levels of tolerance for intrusion is explained through the droning tone of the narrator’s voice. We hear and experience an exasperation of routine and repetition. “I’ve lived in the house with six other women for (sighs), a long time,” the prosaic aggravation of house-share evokes an understanding that most of us have experienced. Comfort is a clear concern in the minds of both filmmakers.
Personal distress often finds itself captured in films and photographs, shared amongst others for approval of anxiety or as evidence of wrongdoing. We also see a very physical motion documented in both films, this idea of destruction caused by liquid is uncomfortable and in some cases, uncontrollable. Again, why do they care? Clout highlights aspects of living that on one hand, aren’t greatly significant, but on the other, are incredibly annoying. These small hindrances interrupt our desire for social and domestic permanence, and ask questions of our lenience for others.
The refreshingly lazy production of this video seems appropriate to the charismas on show. Clout’s ‘Warm Bath’ accentuates a very common characteristic amongst so many of us – the voice of moaning about a situation, without consideration for resolving it. Along with documenting every action, the vast amount of trivial concerns that our minds fixate upon seems highly valuable to Clout’s practice. Clout’s perpetual recording of the unexceptional in this entwining fiction focuses on a system comprehending its own imperfections and incidents. By acknowledgment of these mishaps we are then free to be aware of and on the lookout for our next ordinary, mundane obsession.