Aspex Portsmouth

An Unreachable Country. A Long Way To Go, Heather Peak and Ivan Morison

An Unreachable Country. A Long Way To Go is a film by Welsh artists Heather and Ivan Morison, documenting the production of the sculpture, Luna Park, in rural Serbia. Luna Park was a 16-metre-tall recreation of the fictional dinosaur Ultrasauros, which was installed on Southsea Common.

Set in a small rural village outside of the city of Kragujevac, the film is a portrait of the place and people involved in the construction process. The construction team of engineers, welders, assemblers and model makers are all ex-employees of the Zastava car factory that was the main employer of Kragujevac, making Yugo cars, before it closed. The political and social backdrop – alongside the process for making the sculpture in Serbia – reflects many of the references that oscillate through the Morison’s practice: in working away from perceived centres, nurturing an active engagement with the resources and inhabitants of the locale to inform and produce the work.

The title of the film – taken from the seminal Chris Marker work La Jetée (1962) – reflects another area of interest for the artists: the difficult tenor of the times. The thirty-minute film cuts across factory activity, through the ritualistic preparation of a spit-roasted pig, to the lively conversations of the Serbian team. Often it lingers on the workers extended periods of inactivity within the exquisite, rural backdrop of the village – a metaphorical reflection on the social and environmental impact of the current global climate.

An Unreachable Country. A Long Way To Go continues the Morisons’ investigations into the blurring of fact and fiction, and of creating events and sites that encourage viewers to pause and question their surroundings. The artists merge information into a narrative that builds on the mythology of their own lives and the lives of people they encounter.

Luna Park was a Chapter, Cardiff, initiative that was commissioned in collaboration with Safle through the Stiwdio Safle programme, Aspex Portsmouth and Firstsite Colchester. The project has received generous financial support from Safle, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council England through Sustain and was part-financed by the European Union.