This video forms part of the exhibition ...the rest is smoke, by Helen Sear, the representative for Wales at the Venice Biennale 2015. it is 7 mins 58 seconds long and looped continuously. The video is silent. it is played on a 27 inch monitor to reflect the actual size of the birds.
"...Here Sear has prepared a little diorama, made of a sheet of canvas, two rocks and a slab of birdseed, in which to unfold her morality drama. The title of the piece connects it with the altarpiece in the Venetian chapel where her work is to be shown, even as it acknowledges the altering of scope and tone. The word altar is popularly supposed to be connected to the idea of altitude, since an altar was itself often lifted up, just as the sacrifice made upon it would ascend in smoke to the heavens above. Here, it is the altar itself, in the form of the slab of bread, that is to be consumed, the agent of its elevation being the blue tits and coal tits which flit in and out of the frame, nibbling it away to nothing. There is something playful, even cartoon-like in the pocket drama that is enacted, as first one bird, then successively 2, 3, up to 8, make their entrances and exits from the little stage (fly away Peter, fly away Paul; come back Peter, come back Paul). The aperture through which we observe the slow consumption recalls the circular iris of early cinema, its final fade-out being a kind of ‘That’s-all folks’. And yet, there is also a kind of sombreness about the whole ceremony. First a single drop, perhaps of condensation, perhaps of rain, then several drops, slide tear-like down across the surface of the ellipse, as though it were slowly being overtaken by some swelling, silent, yet unblinking sorrow at the spectacle of erosion before it. " Steven Connor 2015