Continuing themes that define Rachel Calderís work are nostalgia and the pursuit of dreams. Rachel likes to work with Super 8 film, a medium that canít help but have a dream like quality and evoke the past. As a filmmaker, she uses film in performance and installation. Her working practices have evolved and developed with the nature of the work and the further she delves the more interested Rachel has become in creating atmosphere and a tangible physical and emotional experience for the viewer.
For several years Rachelís work has focussed on running away to South America on a banana boat. In performance and installation works she has explored ambitions, hopes and schemes and how they affect the way we live our lives. She examined not only her own motives but also the aspirations that we all have. What keeps most of us in the same spot when our daily dreams of the future include trips to far off places, escape from day to day monotony, fantasies of the person we could be. Why, as we grow older do we learn to file those dreams as fanciful and even when things get really tough and we just want to run away from it all and change everything, we rarely do. Indeed we usually sacrifice our dreams and ambitions for the comfort of the world we know, a place where even the distressing and uncomfortable offer some kind of reassurance. Rachelís fantasies of finding that intangible something that gives meaning to life is no different to any other individualís, however having received a Creative Wales Award to pursue her dream, and as a passenger on a cargo ship was given the artistís luxury of time. And during that time at sea planned to work on her ideas, to write, to film and to learn the accordion. The result was 52 reels of Super 8 film that show the three weeks Rachel spent at sea on the Algeciras Carrier, from Dover to Cartagena, and her subsequent travels through Columbia, Argentina and Chile. She experimented with out of date Russian B&W Quartchrome stock as well as the distinctive Kodachrome-40 and newer B&W and colour stocks. She kept a journal. She didnít take her accordion but a more manageable harmonica on which she can now play Streets of Loredo. For Rachel, what to do with these 52 reels has been more overwhelming than the trip itself and she is still searching for the meaning of life and dwelling on the past.
Rachel Calder was brought up in Edinburgh. In 1984 she moved to Cardiff to attend the Welsh College Of Music and Drama. Her short films have been screened in various festivals in Europe and also for runs in the cinema at Chapter in Cardiff. Her installation and performance work has been supported by Chapter, Cardiff and the Arts Council Of Wales. In 2004 she received an Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award, to fund a trip to South America on a cargo ship in October 2005.