Glasgow Queens Park
Written for Kaleidoscope Magazine – July 2014
Phil Collins’ documentary film projects have always examined the ways in which individuals and groups participate, perform and apprehend the social realm. Often working within public institutions or regions of socio-political constraint, Collins invites his subjects to engage in irreverent participatory actions for the camera such as dance-a-thons or karaoke singing. Through these actions the artist confronts political histories and current regimes, providing a platform for expression whilst subtly investigating the ways in which socio-political structures effect people on the ground.
Tomorrow Is Always Too Long, Collins’ new project, is no exception to what has proven to be an affecting model. The artist has spent the last year gathering documentary footage amongst the myriad public institutions of contemporary Glasgow, visiting community centres and schools, befriending members of elderly people’s social clubs and going on nights out. These encounters have been edited together and are delivered on multiple LED screens as content for an imaginary public access television network. Far from the pathos-driven depiction of the city commonly employed by social realism, Collins’ participants emanate optimism and positivity as they sing, dance, share predictions for the future, and debate the nature of freedom. Presented as a site-specific screening in the old rose garden of Glasgow’s Queens Park overlooking the city, this project offers a refreshing and exuberant portrait of place and community.