A City Named Dog
VHS / Digital Video
Exhibited at Mission Gallery, Swansea
In this neo-liberal era of re-development, re-generation and demolition, it is important to ask what is the ideological context for this re-building of cities, and what impact is this having on post-industrial cities like Glasgow?
The soundtrack of the film is a mixtape of songs that discuss identity, change in the city, loneliness and melancholic feelings of loss. These are love songs about place and the perpetual tension between staying and leaving, a yearning for something better, or grief for something left behind.
Made using a VHS camcorder, the film allows the viewer to see the issues of today retroactively mediated through the lens of the past.
The solitary figure of the taxi driver is familiar as both a real and fictional character; as someone who encounters people and changes within the built environment, and knows the city as home and livelihood. Dogs are the explorers of place – the non-gendered, non-human flâneur, the free occupiers of the city streets, brave protagonists and non-verbal observers.
Iain the taxi driver lives opposite the Art School in Garnett Hill, Glasgow. I made friends with his dog George in the street one day, and told Iain that it had always been my dream when I was younger to have a bulldog. Months later after graduating I got into a taxi from Glasgow Central Station and chatted to the driver about dogs; about life with them, losing them, loving them and told him that my dog had recently died. He told me about his bulldogs, and I realised it was Iain. His bulldogs, George and Harry, ride around Glasgow with Iain in his taxi, meeting people, watching the city and enjoying the journey.