Saturday, 3 January 2015

Fieldwork and Filming

My first encounter with the Severn - in school, in print - was this bit from Henry IV (pt 1): 
"When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank
In single opposition, hand-to-hand
He did confound the best part of an hour
In changing hardiment with great Glendower
Three times they breathed and three times did
 they drink,
 Upon agreement, of swift Severn's flood;
 Who then, affrighted with their bloody looks,
 Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds,
 And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank,
 Bloodstained with these valiant combatants..."

Through the autumn and early winter the bulk of the activity of the project has been filming - mainly on the Lydney-Newnham coast, on the edges of the Forest of Dean - often 'among the trembling reeds'. In this, the process itself looms larger than the 'outputs'; these are not pre-determined, and will morph and multiply over time. Time is of the essence - spending time, turning over stones, building trust and knowledge. 
...weaving while dreaming
...dreaming while weaving

"The soft rush (Juncus effusus) is called igusa in Japanese and is used to weave the soft surface cover of tatami mats"

The explorations on this coast are deep and getting deeper; meaningful outcomes depend on attachments, relationships, involvements and intuition. It's a form of geopoetic deep mapping. The 'mappers' are themselves changed by the setting. The big picture is about coastal distinctiveness; past, present; future.

Subjects being woven here include: working on the edge; layers of place; real and metaphysical associations; atmosphere, emotion, connection; light and dark; nature and culture; dreams, undercurrents/shadows, the spirit of the river/water (Sabrina)+ the reality of survival on this coast; tides; mud (and mud-walking); environmental change; counter-currents and counter-voices; vestigially; knowing and unknowing; personal and political.

"I'd rather people feel a film before understanding it"

- Robert Bresson,

* "Mud walking (in Dutch: wadlopen) is an exciting and adventurous way of acquainting oneself with a unique nature reserve, the Wadden Sea, also the largest continuous national park in Europe. During low-tide, shallows fall dry making it possible to cross the bottom of the sea. These shallows consist of sandbanks, criss-crossed with trenches and gullies. During a typical mud walk, hikers wrestle through miles of mire and thigh-deep brown mud, wade through channels of waist high water before arriving on one of the islands in the Wadden Sea.” LINK

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