This subtly poetic film explores the submarine as an object within its own terms, moving beyond the powerful but familiar narratives of functionality and social context. Instead the film looks to capture the unknown ‘self' of the submarine, a space of being that is difficult to grasp. The subject of Courageous is the physical qualities of particular spaces on the boat that form part of what is seen on a guided tour along with views of its exterior undergoing renovation. The artists are interested in the dual status of this submarine as a piece of history and a museum of that history. Their film aims to bring an understanding of the object as real space.
Beyond its function and history there is an actual physical object that remains obscured by the narratives that surround it. Whilst there have been various documentaries about life aboard a naval submarine these inevitably focus on personal narratives, where the boat is a supporting character and never given the space to articulate itself. In addition Courageous will consider the submarine as an emblem of hearing and silence, an icon through which to consider the unknowability of the nuclear.
The film will be exhibited at KARST in Plymouth, as part of the exhibition Material Nuclear Culture curated by Ele Carpenter.