On Location: landscape cinema and digital memory
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This paper critically reflects on the registers and affects of memory in relation to place, cinematic space, and the materiality of digital film-making technologies, using our recent moving image artwork, On Location (2017), as a case study: this practice-as-research film captures the location over a twelve month period in an unnamed sunken lane at a remote area of rural mid-Devon. On Location is a form of landscape cinema that observes a year’s seasonal cycle, capturing meteorological phenomena and the natural world using a range of experimental filming techniques, and accompanied by field recordings made at the site that capture the sonic architecture of the space. We made regular field trips to the location with cameras and sound equipment – these visits afforded us the opportunity to experience the place during a varied range of weather conditions through winter, spring, summer, and autumn, to respond intuitively using our camera and sound equipment, and then to review and reflect on the recordings we had made. Our memories became an integral part of this film-making methodology and were an important influence on the form of the completed film, which premiered in the cinema at Plymouth Arts Centre UK in January 2017. We explore the dynamic interrelationship between memory, the process of capturing moving image sequences and the affective interplay between the recordings and our memories through repeated presence and absence at a location that seems both unchanging and in constant flux; and we reflect on the audience’s embodied experience of moving image and sound.
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