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A short film poem created with a constellation of wildflowers growing on reclaimed land by the shore of the Laira, the upper part of the River Plym estuary to the east of Plymouth on the southwest coast of Britain. This marginal habitat is vulnerable to climate change and threatened with erosion and flooding by storms and rising sea levels.
Flow shows the beauty and complexity of the common wayside flowers we might normally pass without barely a glance, which are now threatened by ecological emergency. To create the imagery, flowers from the verge were collected during our walks along the estuary, then the petals and leaves were laid onto strips of upcycled 35mm cellulose acetate film, once used for spacing during ‘analogue’ film-making. The sound design is an original musical composition, improvised to the stream of botanical moving images, mixed with audio field recordings made at the location. The petals and leaves stream past as the haunting soundscape ebbs and flows. This poetic practice is a radical alternative to mainstream landscape and nature film-making.
The film reflects the cyclical nature of the seasons and the twice-daily rhythm of tides, the ebb and flow between the fresh water of the River Plym as it floods into the Laira to meet the sea water pushing inland from the ocean. The name ‘Laira’ originates from the end of the 16th century and derives from an ancient Celtic word that corresponds to the Welsh word, llaeru, meaning ‘to ebb’ (Richards, 1861).
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