Stepping Down (2010) 9 mins, HD

Stepping Down offers a map for the memory tourist, identifying significant echoes in time, and highlighting spaces of interest — so that you don’t have to! Steps will help you navigate this maze.

Stepping Down also works as a photographic primer that will show you how to stop down to achieve shadows that are truly black, in preparation for your long planned descent into the abyss. Look out for those little signs of life on the way.

Screened at the Urban Research on Film Program at the 6th International Berlin Directors Lounge, 2010.

Stepping Down is a montage that seeks to articulate a sense of the confusion that often accompanies our routines, our duties, our cultural choreography. Stephen Greenblatt captured wonderfully the great emptiness of tourism when he wrote of a sign in Yellowstone Park that declares redundantly: ‘The Nature Starts Here’. Evidently we find ourselves confused when confronted by objects we are lead to believe are meaningful.

Stepping Down tries to say something subtle about the way that we rely on signs to tell us that ‘The Culture Starts Here’, or ‘Memory At Work Here’. What do people do when confronted by a Holocaust Memorial designed like a labyrinth? Many of them take photos; to remember presumably, but remember what? Many play games by running in and out of the stone blocks, a game of hide and seek. And perhaps this game of hide and seek is at the heart of the matter. That is, in our attempts to make some sort of connection with history or culture we often enact something closer to a withdrawal. We hide when we seek.

In that sense Stepping Down would be a directive to tourists not to climb all over the memory of 6 million dead. But the film itself, implicated as it is in all this capturing, quantifying and aestheticising is a reminder that what people choose to do when they are confused about what they should do is perhaps as revealing of the way that culture moves and manifests as any.