Steve Monster 2009
‘Steve Monster’ tells the story of Steve Feltham who in 1991 at the age of 27, packed in his full time job and sold his house in search of an alternative way of life. He drove to the Loch Ness from his home county of Dorset in a converted library van to fulfill his childhood ambition of becoming a full-time monster hunter. Whilst always keeping his eyes on the Loch, He spent the next 18 years logging sightings, reading books, talking to locals to gather information and developing a comfortable, sustainable life in his van on the Loch-side. In an act of earnest mimicry this work documents the experience of the journey to the Loch Ness, a week in Steve’s company and Steve’s lifestyle. Steve believes that many people are caught up in the rat-race, ‘working for the man’ and having had the courage to pursue his dreams hopes to lead by example of an alternative mode of living.
The work tells his story and conveys his ethos through a mìs-en scene in a caravan with a film, etchings, graphs, models, DIY display cabinets, replica signs and a reconstruction of his set up. The film at 17 minutes long is a fairly slow paced reflection of the peaceful setting and the nature of his lifestyle but it culminates in a fiery discussion round a campfire in which he discusses his views on life with local friends. Because it is presented as it was, as a debate, with two sides, the work is not didactic. The display boards are reminiscent of information boards on a nature trail or a display unit in a natural history museum and together with the graphs, the reconstruction, the documentary and the field trip to the Loch Ness, undertaken by Fawcett all recall protocols of Ethnography. Having been conceived as a tool for propaganda in an imperial age of colonialism, the museum format and the ethnographer here are appropriated, undermined and re-invented. In an age of homogenized culture and grave environmental issues, Steve’s way of life is poignant and rendered all the more relevant as an inspiring example to us all that alternative life choices exist.
Video still from ‘Steve Monster’ 17mins 40