30 May 16

Ian Purnell – week 4 – The Big Rehearsal

After a number of research trips we got to shoot footage of the main rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Gotthard Base tunnel.
Two Performances – one in south and one in the north entrance taking place at the exact same time.
For the shooting DoP Marie Zahir and Simon Waskow who is doing the sound arrived – as well as Janna, one of our protagonists.
In the film Janna leads us through various tunnel scenarios in her own interest.
During the rehearsals Janna explored the logistics of coordinating over 200 extras, performers and rope artists as well as trains, horses, cars within a multimedia stage setting precisely timed to a soundtrack of exact the length it takes for a train to cross the new Gotthard tunnel. At the opening next Wednesday the arrival of the first trains with passengers will be the final of the spectacle.



As a film team we cinematically explored the existiting crossings of the Gotthard and got to simulate a tunnel situation right here at Sasso Residency.

The time here in Vairano was very important to bring our project to a next step and we will be very sad to leave this beautiful surrounding.

23 May 16

Ian Purnell – week 3 – The Future Tunnel

Week 3 started with the shooting of an interview about a vision of a Future tunnel that will lead up to the physical connection of all the world’s continents.
We met Fyodor Soloview who is working on a plan to realize the Bering Strait Tunnel.
I edited parts of the material from the shoot already and began to put them into relation to the other parts of the film.

Fellow video artist Stefan Ramírez Pérez arrived here in Vairano from Cologne. He is contributing to this film with animations and he will also be camera and production assistance during the shoot starting next week.

During my time here in Ticino I naturally started noticing the increased media coverage and visibility regarding the Gotthard Base tunnel opening. The countdown display at Bellinzona railway station creates a feeling of suspsense, stating: 09 days, 1 hour, 39 minutes and 56 seconds as of today.

Schermata 2016-05-23 alle 02.13.03


15 May 16

Ian Purnell – week 2 – Disorientation

During the past week Vairano was covered in a thick layer of fog,
creating a sense of disorientation.
Through the mist most objects in line of sight were hidden while some of them attracted new attention through the changed surrounding. This natural phenomenon for me could have very well been mistaken with a deliberate artificial creation.
Mist will work as an element of montage in my film, bringing together the simulated for an exercise or a performance with the real.

Timo Schaub who is working on the sound for this project visited me from Basel. We went through the material we shot already in December and discussed the scheduled shooting.
The atmospheric over-tone of the film will result in a layering of the sounds Timo and Simon Waskow will have collected in the various tunnels.

I was also busy planning a spontaneous shoot for the following week as we got the great chance to be able to speak to the founder of InterBering – a company dedicated to build a Transcontinental Tunnel across the Bering Strait.


Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-13 um 12.44.40


7 May 16

Ian Purnell – week 1 – Potential Dangers

My name is Ian Purnell and I’m a Swiss film maker, video editor and video artist for stage productions.

During my stay at Sasso Residency I’m mainly focusing on a film I’ve been working on for some time already and which I’m going to finish my postgraduate studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne with.

It’s a documentary film with performative elements set entirely in and around tunnel building sites for future train services.

I’m interested in the artificial tunnel as a space of safety and fears.

The structure of the film will allow the viewer to naturally make cross-connections between the various futuristic sites, evoking a feeling of science fiction.

The work I’ve been doing this week is a mixture between pre- and postproduction. Editing with imagined scenarios, arranging video stills next to sketches and making a lot of phone calls…

We’ve already shot the first part of this film in December in the canton of St. Gallen and are now preparing for the second half that we are going to shoot at the end of our residency stay. We meaning myself and Marie Zahir, Timo Schaub, Stefan Ramírez Pérez, Simon Waskow, Janna Horstmann and Tilman Porschütz who will join me for this project from Cologne, Berlin, Basel and Vienna in the course of the upcoming exciting weeks.

We are all awaiting the opening of the Gotthard-Base-Tunnel in the beginning of June. Next week I’m off to the rehearsals of the promising opening performance!



19 Jan 16

– Artist in Residence Program 2016 –

The jury met last Sunday to select project proposals. We’ve invited Gina Bucher (publisher) as guest, because it was no easy task at all. We’ll welcome the following artists this year:

Ian Purnell (CH/D) with team; Charlie Duck (UK), Jens Rausch (D), Sarah Schneider (US), Si-Ying Fung (D); Alice Lotti / Patrizio Anastasi (IT), Saskia Winkelmann / Samuel Savenberg (CH), Gina Haller / Anne Welenc (CH/D); Marc Schwegler / Gregor Brändli / Eva Heller / Laura Pregger (CH); Marco Marinangeli / Claudia Palmarucci / Maria Cecilia Tantucci / Simone Sdolzini / Tommaso Moretti / Susana Morcillo León (IT/E).

Furthermore we will host guests from Treibstoff Theatertage Basel, Neubad Luzern and Hochschule für Künste Bremen.

10 Oct 15

Week 04 — Sundowner

My last week in Vairano I’ve spent slightly melancholic, knowing I will have to leave soon. Reality caught up and I was busy doing ‘daily business’, writing a lot of emails and discussing rather surreal appearing topics via phone while overlooking Lago Maggiore.


On one of my last strolls around I’ve seen a beautiful old geometric sans serif painted on a garage, somewhere on the way to Bellinzona.

Lately, it seems like most designers, when attempting to draw their first typeface eventually, chose to draw a geometric sans. Somehow apprehensible, since the simpleness of the geometric form is offering orientation and it also seems to be approachable.


In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Due the reduction of basic forms and the implementation of geometry, details become more relevant and disharmonies reveal distinctively. The attempt to establish a dogmatic, mathematical system to help executing typefaces have never worked too well.

Getting lost in drawing a single letter seems also quite common, even along professionals. Endless possibilities are making one forget about the bigger picture, the language, a system when written, expressed through many variations of glyphs, the typeface.


A system of which by establishing formal analogies, it start to become much more then the form it self…


I will miss this. Thanks for having me.