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Daniel Cockburn, Ahead of the Curve (2024)

Einstein suggested that time might not always travel in a straight line, positing how spacetime can bend and warp under the influence of all-powerful matter, its distortions observable as fluctuations in the forces of gravity. For anyone less au fait with the canon of theoretical physics, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic was probably more than enough of a curveball to reckon with: shrinking spatial and experiential horizons; making time stand still and, also, strangely, speed up. Daniel Cockburn’s video, Ahead of the Curve, is a flashback to that discombobulating period, where normal rules were suspended, and hearsay and speculation were rife. With people largely confined to their homes, the rabbit holes of the internet exerted a disproportionate attraction: black holes to doomscroll and get lost in, or wormholes through to a place of enlightenment. In a darkly comic narrative that always stays one or two steps ahead of expectations, Cockburn relays a tall tale that grows in the telling – a babbling stream of associations that meanders and doubles back on itself. Discordant shifts in key and disconcerting leaps in setting and tempo make for a mercurial switchback ride whose twists and turns open up disarming parallels between time present and times past, and whose serpentine digressions often carry a prescient glimpse of what might be waiting just around the bend.  

To read a newly commissioned text by writer and critic Martin Herbert, Circling Back, developed in response to Ahead of the Curve, please click here.

To access an Audio Described version of Ahead of the Curve, please click here.

Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella.


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