Shutter Hub member Simon Isaac‘s series David Come Home was a big hit at the Shutter Hub OPEN 2018, with one of the images representing the exhibition in all advertising and publicity materials.
We’ve been fascinated by the series and its otherworldly visuals, so we asked Simon to tell us the story behind it.
The technological world is moving at a rapid pace, and only a percentage of the planet’s people are part of it. Art plays its part in this accelerated progress with a constant focus on the here and now presented in infinite, realistic detail. Simon Isaac is interested in unravelling such changes through his simultaneous choices regarding medium and subject. In his artworks, Simon searches for conciliation between our immediate and remote future creating images that transit between the fantastic, the sublime and the real. His reflections are largely inspired by his upbringing in industrial Wales while focusing on technologically driven changes in the art world. Beyond technology driven observation, Simon instigates viewers of his work to locate and allocate human narratives that inevitably surface in his compositions.
David Come Home
Migration, and the desire to better our lives as human beings, look simple when the wider world opens up before us on screen. Yet the connection with family and home remains. In a future world of displaced people seeking refuge and somewhere to call home, this is the story of David.
Leaving the distant planet he called home for three years, David crash-lands back on earth and walks across the landscape to find his brother. The story reflects life today for many people who migrate endless miles, leaving friends and family because of war, hostilities, the need to survive, or the human desire to explore. David Come Home is also a story of hope, a story about returning to a place and people who we love and to what is reassuring and comforting.
The project has been in progress for six months and will continue through 2019. Concept development involved the creation of illustrations based on my story and vision.
Chapter 1- The Planet
David has been on the planet for three years, and he hasn’t heard from earth for over two years.
He’s been growing his plant food in the pink greenhouse which came on the ship that brought him here. He tends the plants with his bare hands, they are delicate and his only form of food source. (This will be shot at a private research greenhouse in the UK.) But he has to return home to earth, as it was going through problems when he left, and he doesn’t know what it will be like when he gets home.
He’s received a message from his brother, the first one in years. All it says is ‘David come home’. He holds the ticker tape message in his hand and reads it over and over again. He walks across the landscape to the radio post. It’s the only place that transmissions will work.
This was shot on Svinafellsjokull Glacier Iceland, one of the film location for the movie Interstellar. Inspired by the dramatic scenes in the movie, I chose to use this location along with another from the movie Prometheus to photograph David in a NASA spacesuit that was used in the Blackstar video by David Bowie. A 3-minute film ‘Planetary Transition’ was also created as part of the project, you can view it here.
Chapter 2 – The Journey Home
He steers his ship through space and the controls and lights of the ship reflect in his space helmet visor. The control lights inspired me in the cockpit of Concorde. For this scene, I wanted to create a science fiction look and feel, as David flies his spaceship back to earth. We used the flight simulator of an Airbus A380 to create this scene, with atmospheric lighting to create an austere, exhilarating feel.
The journey took six months, and his beard and hair had grown. He crash-landed in a forest on earth and had to walk a long way to get to civilisation. We shot this scene in the UK, and I created a 3D photographic sculpture in perspex, comprising of four layers to depict the crash. We also featured David walking through a forest, emerging into the sunlight dazed and confused.
He decides to walk home to his brother and has to cross a train track as part of his journey. He stops to looks into the distance, wondering where it leads. As part of the concept, David also has another life support suit which contains life-supporting assets, such as abstract lights that surround and reflect the connections of his internal organs. For this, I commissioned the designer Gina Mason to create the suit, which David can be seen wearing when crossing the railway track.
Continuing The Journey
David’s journey continues, and I am continuing to shoot the final scenes for the story. These will be created in a multi-disciplinary format including photographic print, video, large-scale illuminated light boxes, 3D works.
David Come Home is also a comic, which you can view on https://davidcomehome.co.uk.
We are looking forward to seeing the final scenes of the story! In the meantime, Simon’s work is part of Memorial Device, a multimedia group exhibition exploring the concept of memory tokenisation.
An image from this series is also part of the Shutter Hub’s Out of the Ordinary exhibition, currently showing at Bridewell Theatre Gallery Bar, London.
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