Of time and the railway: Robert Davies' meditative film travels across the West Midlands and Wales

By Culture24 Reporter | 26 March 2015

A meditation on the railway and the changing landscape takes a journey through England and Wales

a film still of a railway track passing through fields in late summer
Robert Davies, Of time and the railway, video still, 2015
Filmed from the driver’s cab of a train, Robert Davies’ Of time and the railway is about the passage of time and the changing landscape of England and Wales, both literally and historically.

Made over 86 different days between October 2013 and February 2015, the film compacts a year in the life of a train and the landscape they pass through into a single mesmerising journey.

For one hour and 51 minutes, the viewer is taken on a meditative voyage through the night from Birmingham, to Shrewsbury in the morning, then on to Newtown and the Welsh mountains in the afternoon, before finishing at Aberystwyth at sunset.

Along the way the English and Welsh landscape moves through late summer, into autumn and the full folds of winter.

a film still of a railway track stretching off into the distance across a landscape
Robert Davies, Of time and the railway, video still, 2015
In Birmingham, the landscape is dominated by the presence of industrialisation before the Black Country, the Shires and the Welsh Marches reveal the agricultural land that has been farmed since it was settled.

As the train carries on into the hills of Powys, the relationship between man and the landscape begins to change; cattle and sheep vying for space with crops.

On the steeper slopes, sheep farming becomes prevalent as the train reaches its’ highest point at Talerddig, before winding down the Twymyn Valley to the river Dyfi as it meanders to Machynlleth.

The journey continues along the flood plain to the open mouth of the Dyfi estuary and the wilds of Ynys Las and Borth before journey’s end at the university town of Aberystwyth.

A mid-Wales based artist, Davies’ practice includes drawing, photography and projects ranging from a FIFA centenary project with Pele to an assignment with the BAR Honda Formula 1 team.

  • Of time and the railway opens on March 27 at Aberystwyth Arts Centre and on March 28 at Mid-Wales Arts Centre, Caersws. It goes on to tour all of the major galleries along the route including mac Birmingham, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Oriel Davies, Newtown.  See below for full itinerary.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.

a film still of a railway track through fields of rain
Robert Davies, Of time and the railway, video still, 2015
a film still of a railway track through a snow covered landscape
Robert Davies, Of time and the railway, video still, 2015
The timetable in full:

Aberystwyth Arts Centre
March 28 – April 11 2015
Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion
SY23 3DE
Free admission
Mid Wales Arts Centre
March 28 – October 30 2015
Caersws, Powys, SY17 5SB
Free admission
mac Birmingham
July 4 – September 20 2015
Cannon Hill Park, West Midlands B12 9QH
Free admission
MOMA Wales
July 20 – July 31 2015
Heol Pen’rallt, Machynlleth, SY20 8AJ
Free admission

Powysland Museum
July 31 – September 5 2015
The Canal Wharf, Welshpool, SY21 7AQ
Free admission for children/residents Powys

Pen’rallt Gallery Bookshop
August 1 – August 31 2015
Heol Pen'rallt, Machynlleth, SY20 8AJ
Free admission
Borth Station Museum
August 1 – August 31 2015
Cambrian Terrace, Borth SY24 5LN
Free admission
Oriel Davies
September 19 – September 30 2015
The Park, Newtown, SY16 2NZ
Free admission
Wolverhampton Art Gallery
September 26 – December 5 2015
Lichfield St, Wolverhampton WV1 1DU
Free admission
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