Still/Moving: Desire Paths in Dryden Goodwin's Flight

By Gareth Evans


Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die. – E.M. Forster, from Howards End

Flight n. 8. a soaring mental journey above or beyond the normal everyday world.

These words were written at night. It was then that the desired versions of light seemed clearest. The songs of certain birds were already scoring themselves in the higher branches…

Above them all, I heard the goldfinch; its being there led me to a calm.

For Goodwin, the eyes have it every time. A distinctively aesthetic – and to a certain degree ascetic – voyeurism underpins all those of his works which take watching as an almost musical motif, to be revisited in different surroundings: the transit zones of airports, underground systems and motorway service stations. These spaces, however brutal their dimensions, nevertheless become the site of significant, albeit passing, intimacies, caught by his camera and ink as they calmly investigate the surrounding topography.


Draw vb. 1. to cause (a person or thing) to move towards or away.

With the darkness as licence and call to transgression, Goodwin delivers a surveillance of brightness falling, of isolation made luminous by its literal framing against the night. Remaining physically distant, he then proceeds to extend the camera as a ghost hand by touching with animated ink those he watches. He traces their profiles and skin, testing definitions of proximity and retreat, the allowable and the unseen empathetic. It’s a provocative combination, a potent, coded gesture of solidarity with the stranger, the fellow nighthawk – of the soul as much as of the hour.

Drawn adj. haggard, tired or tense in appearance.

Does he draw himself out of a quandary or into a new narrative that promises to gleam?

City n. 6. the people of a city collectively.

The city we leave is always the last city of the earth. Here it really is. This is the ending of a certain kind of order. The move is from a page with marks towards a page that dreams always of its own unsullied snow. Where marking is as distant as the Spring (and as inevitable).

Drawing and Filming are not oppositional practices. Rather, they have agreed, in advance, that they will divide space and time between them. It is not immediately apparent which medium drew which straw.

Highway n. 4. a direct path or course.


The real exhaustion comes in always living in the interstices, waking into lay-bys of the road map and the heart, into the spaces between desire. Goodwin understands that the life to be lived makes a discreet contract with the idea of experience at an uncertain cost. He is an individual in this transaction but still, at this point, he is holding onto the idea that he is part of the collective, part of the city gone. The challenge is simple, how to be alone together…

Wood. 11. (out of the...) clear or safe from dangers or doubts; adj. obsolete, raging or raving...

The birches can save or break someone who finds themselves, out of necessity, among them. This is what beauty does. It makes itself irreplaceable and then the light changes. The only way to resist is to move as fast as the light; in short, to attempt to become the light.

Threshold n. 3. the starting point of an experience, event or venture.

The headland is a place where scale shifts because desire increases. Trees become grasses, which become trees. Huge forces are apparent but whisper their presence. Always there is a sense of something greater. Of the moment when, stepping into solid air, one suddenly discovers that one has been expected.

Desire vb. 1. to wish or long for; crave; want.

The journey into light is what happens when an artist abandons content for medium. It is inevitable but rarely acknowledged. It is normally the unspoken arrival of all such journeys. Here it is voiced, in the sweep of a gull, rising and diving on cliffside thermals, becoming itself through flight.

Horizon n. 3. the range or limit of scope, interest, knowledge etc...

To be a fugitive is to know that one can never leave what has provided the greatest definition to one’s character and aims. The lens looms like a city. This is where Goodwin lives. This is not a value judgment; rather it is an understanding that we become what we have always been: ourselves with the wind in mind.

Möbius Strip n. a single sided continuous surface, formed by twisting the material through 180 degrees and joining the ends.

The form of the journey becomes indecipherable from the voiced and unvoiced aims. Through the mist of marine brightness a landing is apparent; it grows in voice, then fades, grows in voice then...

Pause n. 3. a temporary stop or rest, esp. in speech or action.

In Milan Kundera’s fiction Slowness, his protagonists slow down to remember and accelerate to forget." target="_blank">Dryden Godwin is an artist. His animate! commissioned installation Flight showed in July at the Platform Festival in Portland, Oregon, a report from which will published in the next issue of Vertigo.