Although I travel to South America most years to make work, the intention behind this trip was different. In the past, many of my works have dealt specifically with Colombian issues reflected on a global scale but this exploration was to be far more personal.

As I embarked on this intimate, introspective voyage I was simultaneously covering vast physical distances. I wanted to experience physical extremes. I travelled to both the wettest rainforest and the driest desert, all the time being aware of feeling so minimal, of becoming almost unnoticeable, and recognising how we are all part of nature. I returned with new energy and open to new perspectives.

I was continually aware that this journey was an opportunity to collect new material. The video I showed at the symposium at Tate Modern depicted only a very small selection of the material I had gathered. Although I am back in London the journey has still not ended. It helped me understand and accept that while I might be in one place physically and spiritually, I am between two and they may never meet.

The culmination of the Necessary Journeys initiative was an international symposium which discussed the concerns facing artists working on and across the border of moving image and time-based practice. Focusing on the formation of new perspectives through a broad range of artistic journeys, the symposium brought together some projects that appeared within the Necessary Journeys arts initiative.

Produced by Arts Council England in association with Tate Modern and the British Film Institute.

Fernando Arias

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