The locations are places where land has been remodelled and repurposed. Looking through a cobwebby porthole, we glimpse the remains of a television station, built on a sailors’ graveyard, now a huge mound of smashed bricks, rubble and buddleia. Lion gargoyles, saved from a lost building, look down upon the Braille Garden. Erased by the ebb and flow of urban regeneration, these sites are resonant with the city’s layered histories.
A short film poem by artists Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore in collaboration with the writer and academic, Dr David Sergeant.
Nature colonises the abandoned public spaces of the present-day city, rewilded by visions from past and possible futures. As the poem flows through the film, the imagery and sound design evoke the everyday-ness of life in a city that seems to be wakening to new possibilities after a long year of pandemic.
Just as the current moment presents a fork in the path for our collective planetary future, so the ways in which we imagine the near future currently seem to be split. Many of the stories that we are telling ourselves about the challenges to come, however well-meaning their intentions, often represent a retreat from what actually needs to happen. Other stories are struggling to find a form that might allow a more positive vision to emerge.
"How can we imagine ourselves in a better world, a world that is materially achievable now but often seems beyond historical reach? And how can we join that imagining to the present so as to open up a path to a better future?"
David’s recent poetry and academic research have been exploring these questions, which also underpin the creative collaboration in this film poem.
A vintage Bolex clockwork camera and Kodak 16mm Ektachrome film was used to shoot at reclaimed sites around Plymouth in the late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky and has a warmer light. This gives the images a quality that suggests the past through its visual texture and materiality.
"We also included extracts of archival film, and some sequences have been treated in post-production to convey a vivid dream."
Actor and theatre-maker Ruth Mitchell performed the text, her voice embodying the poem’s words, overlayed with field recordings made at the locations.
All images © Sundog Media, 2021
Artists Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore embrace landscape film-making, environmental and ecological themes, and ethical and sustainable practice. Their innovative short films are screened internationally. Recent exhibitions include Strangelove (UK), Visions in the Nunnery (UK), Contemporary Art Ruhr (Germany), VisualcontainerTV (Milan), Discovering Dalmatia VI (Croatia) and the Kepler Hall, Linz (Austria).
The Sustainable Earth Institute's Creative Associates projects aim to explore novel and innovative ways of communicating research and develop a portfolio of case studies of the different creative approaches possible.