Interview with Thomson & Craighead on Belief
We interviewed Thomson & Craighead about Belief, the final work in the desktopdocumentary trilogy, following on from the AnimateTV commission Flat Earth(2007) and A Short Film about War (2009).Love, sex, money, war and now religion – what inspired a focus on religiousmusings and assertions in your final desktop documentary?
For us, the whole 'Flat Earth Trilogy' has tried to take a wilfully inadequate look at whatmight be described as big subjects, and war and belief seem inextricably linkedtogether. Obviously a 'short film about war' is a kind of impossibility, just as a thirteenminute video about belief is, but in making these desktop documentaries we want to atleast infer the enormity of the subjects they glance at, while thinking more specificallyabout how information is mediated via the worldwide web and in turn how that thenrelates to us as individuals.
There must be thousands of videos under the ‘religion’ tag on YouTube you couldhave selected, can you tell us a bit about the process that went in to selecting theclips that make up Belief?
Well the tag or keyword in the work is, belief and not religion. From beginning to end,this work takes you through a trajectory that looks at supernatural belief, fundamentalreligious belief, belief as a vector for racism, economic belief systems, self belief, beliefin the afterlife, cults, spiritualism, animism and belief as a meme in popular music. Thattrain of thought comes out of a relatively short but intense research period where weand Steve Rushton sat down in Rotterdam for a week and just looked and looked andlooked and looked at stuff while generating a collective chat log and discussiondocument. You are absolutely correct that there is a lot out there, as the idea of selfbroadcast and belief go hand in hand and it became quickly clear that we could eithermake a work that would be over an hour long or to pair it down to roughly ten minutes,which is what we did ultimately, not least because it is in keeping with Flat Earth and A Short Film about War.
In Flat Earth you use the Google Earth view to links the blogs, in A Short Filmabout War you incorporate the log of URLS and GPS location feed, and with theinstallation version of Belief you’ve created a compass to point to the location andapproximation to each clip’s uploader - why is incorporating the location of thebloggers and vloggers an essential element of each film?
It is important to us because these works are about how information is distorted by itsvery dissemination online, but also how we individually might authenticate informationas it comes into view when part of decentralised global communications networks like