The Cowboy and the Spaceman at the Pier Arts Centre

21 Aug 2012 in Film, Orkney

A short film by the artist and filmmaker Colin Kirkpatrick is to receive a day long screening at the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness this weekend.

The Cowboy and the Spaceman was shot on location in Orkney in 2006 and is receiving its Orkney premiere at the Pier Arts Centre on Saturday 25 August when the 30 minute film will be shown on a loop throughout the day.

The film explores two differing views of Planet Earth and its resources and their profound implications for the long-term survival of life on earth.

Taking up economist and philosopher Kenneth Boulding’s imagery of the Spaceship Earth, the film contrasts the archetypes of cowboy and spaceman. In Boulding’s view the cowboy sits atop his horse overlooking a wide open prairie, seeing the earth as an endless horizon of limitless possibilities. Conversely, the spaceman looks back at our planet from outer space realising that the earth is not only small, but finite in it’s resources. Within his spacecraft all equipment and supplies have to be recycled as often as possible in order to survive.

Using stunning shots of the West Mainland landscape a simple narrative is constructed exploring the two archetypes. In conclusion, a series of local people are portrayed and asked whether they are: a cowboy or a spaceman?

The artist’s fascination with Orkneys connections with the Wild West and with the native peoples of Canada led to the film being narrated by native Canadian Willie Ermine, of the First Nations University of Canada, in the Cree tongue with English sub-titles.

Colin Kirkpatrick commented, “The northern and western fringes of Europe are still considered by many to be our culture’s last local frontiers in terms of both resources and development. My Orkney upbringing, and Oil Town further education at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, often reminds me how fragile and limited many of these resources are. At the same time my childhood, surrounded by young farmers and returning trawler men bedecked in cowboy boots, perpetually reinforced the frontier-like qualities of the Northern Isles existence.”

The Cowboy and the Spaceman was written and directed on location in Orkney by Colin Kirkpatrick and produced by Adam Proctor at Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen.

Andrew Parkinson, Curator of the Pier Arts Centre added, “Colin’s work in photography, painting, printmaking and drawing is well known in Orkney and we are pleased to bring the artist’s first substantial film to audiences in his home town. The film beautifully portrays a fundamental dilemma faced by local communities in seeking out sustainable modes of living.”

Screenings of the film will take place continuously at the Pier Arts Centre on Saturday 25 August from 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Cowboy and the Spaceman is the second of three special events celebrating filmmaking in Orkney. The final screening of the season will take place at the Cromarty Hall in St Margaret’s Hope on Saturday 1 September when Mark Jenkins new film, The Imaginary Worlds of Scapa Flow will be premiered. The event is free but booking is essential through the Pier Arts Centre on 01856 850 209.

Source: Pier Arts Centre