High Wire, 2008
High Wire is a multi-screen film and video installation. Yass recorded the film in North Glasgow at the location of the Red Road housing scheme in 2007 – a scheme that marked a triumph for city planners who, in the 1960s, fulfilled a vision of rebuilding a city that was characterised by the largest and tallest social housing development in Europe. For Yass, the Red Road development was significant. It reflected a new “pioneering spirit about housing policy and socialism and modernism, and about building a better world.” In her film, Yass depicts tight-rope walker Didier Pasquette crossing a 90 metre high wire, placed between three of the housing development’s tower blocks. Her imagery shows a contrast between the freedom of walking on air, and the containment of life inside a concrete block. The tower blocks that reach high into the sky represent an attempt to improve living standards for the city’s poorest by creating more room, yet Pasquette refuses to be bound by the physical constraints of those spaces. Through that imagery, Yass highlights the social and political problems associated with constraining communities, and emphasises the ability of people’s thinking and fantasies to triumph over the physical.