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Webb-Ellis, For the First Baby Born in Space (2019)

Artist duo Webb-Ellis have regularly involved young people in their projects, as willing participants and active collaborators, and the two-screen For The First Baby Born in Space is no exception. Filmed during the extraordinary long, hot summer of 2018, the piece features a number of teenagers from the artists’ home base of North Yorkshire and elsewhere. Talking to them about their hopes and aspirations and listening to them about their fears, it records how their coming of age coincides with a time when so much else is in flux. Little wonder, then, as their hormones play havoc with their emotions, and personal tribulations leave them all at sea, that so many of the protagonists seek to orient themselves: desperate to latch onto something, whether it be the arm of the person next to them, or the light of the Pole Star at night. Their future is out there – but their future is murky, and dark. On the outside, on the fringes, these young people are also a bellwether of Britain at large – their confusion a mirror of the turmoil of a country that, like them, faces an uncertain future and is on the brink of what may well be profoundly unsettling change.

Click here to read Emily LaBarge's response to the film — highlighting the ordinary and spectacular aspects of our present life on earth and how we might convey this to our extraterrestrial counterparts in the future.

For The First Baby Born in Space was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2019: Going, Gone, a collaboration between Jerwood Arts and Film and Video Umbrella.


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