As if peering through a gap in the trees this art work focuses on the relationship between light and dark, quarry and hunter. The colour and form of the red figure references Uccello’s practice within the late Gothic tradition and reminds us that red is the colour of fairytales, representing blood (virginity, violence, death).
The dogs in south London are running.
Text and audio work, 3.43 minutes
by Sarah Gillett
Screenshot from White God (2014), directed by Kornél Mundruczó and starring Zsófia Psotta.
Approximately 250 dogs were used in the film. With the exception of two dogs, all the animals extras were dogs recruited from shelters or from the streets of the location shooting. Approximately 98% of the dogs were adopted after filming
White God won the Prize Un Certain Regard at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and the Octopus d’Or at the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival for the Best International Feature Film. The dogs in the film were also awarded with the Palm Dog Award.
The dogs in south London are running. One of the big ones slows down as it passes me and I step back as its nose swerves into my crotch, waving my arms as though that would make any difference. If it were really hungry it would just eat me but I get a face full of hot meaty air and it’s a lucky day.
The dogs continue down the street, a dark low crowd bunched tight, shoulder rubbing shoulder, tails taut. A scruffy mongrel with a tagged collar grins at me, baring teeth so widely that the shape of its pink gums reminds me of Dad’s dentures in a glass by the bed. The collar is a sign that this one is new to the pack, only recently graduated from indoors to living outside. I wonder what happened to the family, and if there were any kids. Give it a few months and the collar will be gone.
When I get to the junction with the South Circular, I wait nervously for a gap in the cars. To keep vehicles moving they took the lights away, so it’s particularly bad for pedestrians here, because the traffic comes from three different directions. I make a dash for it in front of a Sainsbury’s lorry, a white face high up in the cab, an open mouth shouting obscenities over the horn blast. I count the days and work out that it is the third Tuesday of the month, which is why the curb is spilling over with plastic milk bottles, fried chicken bones and dusty pizza crusts. Bin day tomorrow. The men that come wear special protective clothing and are supposed to bag everything, but as soon as they see the dogs running they scramble up the sides of the van and they’re off.
The behavioural psychologists say that the dogs are returning to a more primal existence because they no longer see us as the dominant species. Once we stopped feeding them even the pugs and the cavapoos got nippy, sinking their teeth into anything fleshy, their flat black eyes red-rimmed and wild. It didn’t take long for people to stop thinking about them as beloved pets. Those with cars started dumping their dogs in woods miles away, and those who couldn’t be bothered to drive just abandoned their dogs in a local park or playground, like the one up the hill. No one goes there now.
About two months ago I saw a mastiff playfully toss a white chihuahua in the air. The others in the pack started doing it too and the chihuahua was screaming like a baby. It survived initially and crawled away into a blanket, shivering, but later I found the blanket trampled into the ground by the river. Since then I’ve noticed fewer and fewer small dogs around here.
I skitter past the fast food places but the pack is focused on the side doors where the staff come and go. There is a man inside wearing a red and blue uniform. The smell of rotting vegetables, rancid fat and sweat is nauseating. The dogs stand, ears forward, jaws drooling, waiting.
More works in Quarry
The relics and ghosts of long ago are brought together here as if in a wild dream of nature. Starting from the verticals of Uccello’s trees and dotted lines he cut into the wood I wanted to present a landscape of fragments that offers a framework for a narrative.
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She smooths out the duvet cover with her hands, uncreasing the printed astronaut suit, flattening the stars in their cotton void, repositioning the blue Earth from sliding off the side of the bed. She kisses Bill’s hair, feeling his fragile skull millimetres away from her lips. “Night night.”
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