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4:3, color, sound, hi8, 6 min, 2008

"Waves are hands. They traverse bodies. They swim. They drown." Jessica Bardsley's Oceanography, is a lyrical video, in which the attempt to resolve has more akin to the process of becoming -  like a girl growing into her long legs, or a little boy waiting for his face to catch up to his two front teeth.  The video does chart its course, but the navigator dreams of many alternate journeys. Bardsley is a taxonomist of wayward souls, human and animal- whether they be air-bird or sea-mammal. We are lead towards and away from the bottom of the ocean, its ever changing surface, and its most haunting and breath-taking inhabitants. Quite unexpectedly the digital edge of in-camera audio begins to splice a roving camera (searching for land?) into tranquil sunset studies and warbling horizon lines. The blend of found and self-generated footage is seamless and yet the brutality of the sound edits doggedly forces us out of a the romance of simulation. This is an investigation. This is a quest. Oceanography grazes the barnacled flanks of my mother, The Great Blue. Bardsley has a great need to know and to understand. She uses found and manufactured footage to show us the things she has learned. There is a youthful ping in the frequency of her voice that I suspect will not dissipate with maturity. If anything, I reckon that this particular sonar inflection Bardsley uses to lead us through her hand-digitized abstractions, and her crystalline frames of actuality will become more acute as her curiosity and methods of inquiry expand."

--Cauleen Smith, Carousel Microcinema


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