Pronunciation:/ˈsɒlɪs/ noun [mass noun] – comfort or consolation in a time of great distress or sadness: 

he sought solace in his friends


What are you left with at the end of those formative years which comprise your adolescence? Scars, marks, bruising of the emotional kind or otherwise? Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull, known collective as Institute for Eyes,  flesh out the basics of growing up; interaction, isolation, relationships with the deeper feelings teenagers rarely acknowledge or address. Joy, bravado, aggression, vulnerability. This is your life and this is your happiness and you will never feel this way or maintain this relationship with your peers ever again.

Lush, cinematic, sumptuous; there is a gulf between reality and the fantasy of film. Solace traverses film, installation and documentary precariously. Undisputable reality; the score of field-recordings, the recollection of a friend being murdered. Fiction: beauty of the bleak, not every film has a happy ending. When the cameras stopped rolling, when the screen fades to black, what happens to these boys? Objectivised. Part played, footage obtained, the style and drama of the disadvantaged extracted. Do Seomore and Bull simply move on? What solace can the protagonists find in this?  

Solace does not answer these questions, but in a Q&A at the ICA in January, Seomore & Bull did. Bull is involved with teaching about film one day a week at a Dagenham school, those featured were part of a group he teaches Barely demonstrating awareness of their presence, the teenagers aptly demonstrate the unmatchable ability to hold authority in general disregard. Filmed consecutively over a day, Seomore and Bull relayed how they felt they had captured the equivalent of years instead of hours. The piece rings heavy with mortality: soliloquised, actualised and also captured: something fleeting and temporal being lost, disappearing into the ether like long days in Dagenham during seasons of change.

Bridging the privacy adolescents seek with the public medium of film; a snapshot of the proximity and distance which demarcates the lives of teenage boys. Letting in, letting go, what you let on to and what you let happen. Time will pass, as it does, and this time of great distress, sadness or otherwise will be nothing more than a moment in the pass. Take solace in the fact that there is a beautiful record of you on the precipice of adulthood, the temporal moment when the world was yours for taking and no idea too diminutive to think aloud.

Solace’ was shown as part of the 8th London Short Film Festival in January.

Shane Sealey


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