Ian Purnell

May 1 –
May 28 2016
Blogpost Archive:

Ian Purnell – week 1 – Potential Dangers

May 7 2016

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!



Ian Purnell – week 2 – Disorientation

May 15 2016

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


Ian Purnell – week 3 – The Future Tunnel

May 23 2016

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


Ian Purnell – week 4 – The Big Rehearsal

May 30 2016

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.