In the video work by Yasmin Davis – “Following You Following Me”, a figure walks towards the camera, someone in pursuit behind her. She tries to draw near the camera but it steadily moves away. She tries to overtake it using the most fundamental means available: breathing and walking. It is her breath that activates the camera. As she inhales, it draws near. As she exhales, it retreats.
In the first segment of the work, the figure (futilely) tries to close the distance to the lens at different rhythms of pacing and stalling of breath. Her proximity relies on her ability to hold her breath, using force of will to stop an involuntary action. The closer she gets, the more obvious her ultimate inability to succeed becomes. The lack of fulfillment is the motivation of action, while the desired object remains forever unattainable. For the meeting between camera and woman to transpire, she needs to stop breathing. Her steps becoming increasingly slower.
And yet, as her movement dwindles, the camera increasingly takes the role of the active element in this non-meeting. In the work’s second segment, it is the camera’s turn to try and close the distance, another attempt doomed to failure. The steps audible in the video are not that of the visible figure, but of another, a man, unseen and behind the camera. The female blurs into a patch of color, a vague image. Her gaze avoids us. The closer we draw near, the more indistinct those details allowing identification (the meeting) become. The nearer we are, the more she disappears.
Attempts at encounter are the engine that drives infinite movement. Failure provides the fuel. In this work, the lens does not constitute a screen or a barrier, but rather the action of the world: an ongoing process of change, lacking all existence of its own. It is incessant motion, never reaching fulfillment, a wanting that refuses to ease, a false hope of beating the inevitable forgetfulness of features whose immediacy distorts them.