I had the good fortune to meet the artist Gair Dunlop at an arts event in the Scottish Highlands at the weekend. He gave a fascinating talk about the films he has made about disused military and nuclear establishments. For many years he was a protestor outside of the perimeter fences but when the Dounreay nuclear reactor was decommissioned he was eventually allowed to film inside and face the threat he had felt for so long.
Although the political issues in his work dominate, I felt there was also a strong hauntological element. I was interested his personal experience of having looked in with frustration at these places for so long, eventually being allowed to pass through the mirror to see and touch the objects of his hate and fear, and finally dealing with the entropy of these spaces and finding a new equilibrium.
These two extracts on Vimeo are particularly good, where contemporary footage is held up against period documentary/PIF.
Dounreay: atom town from Gair Dunlop on Vimeo.
atom town arrival from Gair Dunlop on Vimeo.