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Pushing a Camera over a Hill

Mike Parr
23 November 1971

PUSHING A CAMERA OVER A HILL (A work for videotape)

23 November 1971

Commence at the base of a hill (gentle slope and well grassed) .. push an activated videocamera up the slope of the hill, over the top of the hill and down the other side. Push the camera at an even rate without stopping. Push the camera in a specific direction over the hill (as N. to S. .. E. to W.)
M.Parr (august 1971.1

According to Parr, Pushing a Camera Over a Hill was originally shot on 1/4” Akai video but he decided to redo it on film because he needed the depth of field that good lenses could provide.

“Without depth of field, you didn’t get that wonderful kind of noisy grass and all of that agitation. And what I was interested in was ... the tangents, as you went over the top of the hill … It opened out into deep space, and that was the really important aspect of the thing because it was like a tremendous relief. And it was sort of like a visionary eruption because you were travelling monotonously through all this noisy grass.”2

It was made in 1971 with the assistance of Ian Stocks. On the shooting of the film, Parr has commented:

“I can remember, I had a Nagra recorder on my back, the microphone was strapped to the side of the camera, and I just pushed it up the hill. We used a Bolex because they were quite small.”3

Parr has suggested that he may have been influenced in the making of this work through his previous involvement in the anti-conscription campaigns in Brisbane. Although he was not eligible to be conscripted, he had refused to register and was in trouble with the Commonwealth Police, and the film may have been “a sort of combat fantasy.” It resonates with the infantry action of going over a hill, because you only see a restricted view, you never see above the edge of the hill, which you would be very cautiously looking over, poking your head up, hoping there were no snipers there, and as Parr comments “in the most primitive way, this is the idea of the “camera as a gun.”4

1Peter Kennedy and Mike Parr, Videotapes at Inhibodress, Sydney: Inhibodress, November 23 and December 7 (1971), Catalogue for the event.

2Mike Parr in conversation with Stephen Jones, recorded 26 August, 2010.



Mike Parr's instructions for Pushing a Camera Over a Hill, from the Inhibodress Video Tapes catalogue.
Mike Parr's instructions for Pushing a Camera Over a Hill, from the Inhibodress Video Tapes catalogue.