Year of release: 2014
Original format: 8mm and HD video
Running time: 1 minute 56 seconds
Screening format: single channel digital screening versions available
Credits: A film by Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore
Thanks: Mike Brewis, Jennie Constable, Terry Flaxton, Sarah Sparke, Janette Kerr
Production: Sundog Media
Commissioned by Centre for Moving Image Research, University of the West of England, and Royal West of England Academy, Bristol
Supported by a CMIR-RWA Moving Image Art Bursary
8mm footage courtesy of South West Film and Television Archive
Distribution and sales: Sundog Media

Cinematic memories of long-forgotten arrivals and departures ‘projected’ onto mysterious upwellings and whirlpools to conjure the confluence of histories at Devil’s Point, the rocky promontory on the westernmost edge of Plymouth, where the swirling waters of the River Tamar pour through the narrow gap between Devon and Cornwall to meet the salty tides of Plymouth Sound, its topography producing riptides, strange turbulent waters and unique meteorological conditions.

Maelstrom: The Return is the first in a series of films inspired by the turbulent waters of Devil’s Point, Plymouth. Mysterious upwellings and whirlpools combine with cinematic memories of long-forgotten arrivals and departures.

Production notes
Our film is focused on the rocky promontory on the westernmost edge of Plymouth known as Devil’s Point. Here, the swirling waters of the River Tamar pour through the narrow gap between Devon and Cornwall to meet the salty tides of Plymouth Sound, its topography producing riptides and whirlpools, and unique meteorological conditions. These dangerous waters gave Devil’s Point its name. It is the place where Francis Drake is said to have met the witches with whom he conjured up the storm that drove the Spanish Armada away from England’s shores. Here, Captain Cook set sail on his three voyages of discovery and the naturalist Charles Darwin sailed off to the Galapagos.

We aimed to capture the confluence of the histories and lived experience of this place for the audience in moving image and sound. Our research project began with a field trip to the location, when we walked to the end of Devil's Point and recorded our conversation by the sea. We then responded to the moving image material held by the South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) that features Devil’s Point, and engaged in a reflective dialogic process at the location, recording our thoughts. We shared our research conversations at the location, at SWFTA and in the edit suite as a series of podcasts, which were posted on the Centre for Moving Image Research CMIR-RWA Moving Image Art Bursary blogsite (available online from autumn 2014 until the start of 2017).
Image: small whirlpools at Devil’s Point

Publication and comments
‘Filming the river: memories of the tidal Tamar’ [chapter/conference proceedings, with Stuart Moore] in Costa Valenta A., and Capucho R. (eds.) AVANCA | CINEMA 2016. Avanca: Edições Cine-Club de Avanca. ISBN: 978-989-96858-8-8. Publication date: 1 September 2016. pp. 140-144.

"lovely use of archive footage layered with images of swirling currents - evokes nostalgia/memory" (CMIR: ONE exhibition comments book, December 2015).

One of our research field trip recordings was broadcast on Soundart Radio as part of the Art Dot Earth programme Artists Walking Episode 1 with Richard Povall and Laura Denning (10.00am to 11.00am 2 March 2017). Available on Mixcloud:

Maelstrom: project documentation - Devil's Point from Sundog Media on Vimeo.

Maelstrom: project documentation - SWFTA from Sundog Media on Vimeo.


Artist's talk and screening for Clan-Kind, the project by The Conscious Sisters that connects people living in Plymouth to lost landscapes; a sister project of Settlement, a creative occupation of Pounds House, Plymouth by 28 contemporary Native American artists, autumn 2020, for Mayflower 400 (online presentation, 28 May 2020)

The Screening Room SALTO video art and experimental film channel One Minute vol 9 collection of artists’ moving image curated by Kerry Baldry; SALTO is a cable network in the Amsterdam region accessible free to 1.5 million people on TV channel 14 (12 July 2019 for one month)

One Minute Artists Moving Image Festival North Wales, curated and organised by Kerry Baldry (programme 5, 23 to 25 February 2018)

Presentation of 'Framing the landscape: developing an eco-sensitive cinema', joint paper with Stuart Moore, for #Cinema is Dead: New Ways of Showing, Watching and Telling, the 3rd International Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media Conference, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Aesthetics and Poetics panel; includes a screening of the films Reach and Maelstrom (18 and 19 May 2017)

One Minute vol 9 collection of artists’ moving image curated by Kerry Baldry:
The Project Space, Rogue Studios, Manchester (20 October 2016)
DL à la carte 48 Stunden Neukölln arts festival, presented by Directors Lounge; Berlin (24 June 2016)
C.A.R. Media Art Fair (Contemporary Art Ruhr), presented by Directors Lounge Contemporary Art and Media, Berlin; Zollverein World Cultural Heritage Site, Essen, Germany (3 to 5 June 2016)
Light Night Liverpool 2016 Liverpool Small Cinema (13 May 2016, 5pm to 11pm; Night Sounding, Project, Flora, Yessling, Twenty Foot Square, Verge: Nocturne and White Body also screened)
Oblíqua Mostra Internacional de Videoarte and Cinema Experimental, Lisboa, Portugal (premiere, 5 May 2016, Fábrica Braço de Prata's ‘Sala Visconti’; Teatro do Bairro 9 May 2016)

Digital Bristol Week 2016 part of the Digital Cities initiative, presented by CMIR at venues across the city: BBC Bristol, Arnolfini, MShed, Engine Shed and the Big Screen in Millennium Square, Bristol (9 to 15 May 2016)

CMIR: TWO - Focus on New Practice Research in the Moving Image exhibition, part of the Digital-Cultural Ecology and the Medium-Sized City conference, Arnolfini, Bristol. Reach, Teign Spirit and Cinematic City also screened (1 April 2016)

CMIR: ONE exhibition curated by Lucietta Williams, Centrespace gallery, Bristol. Reach also screened (5 to 8 December 2015, private view 6.00pm to 8.30pm Friday 4 December)
CineStar Artists’ Film Programme Cornwall Film Festival, Back Lane West, Redruth, Cornwall (13 and 14 November 2015)
One Minute Hull Artists’ Moving Image Festival, Open Call programme, Hull (6 to 8 November 2015)
Convergence exhibition, for Plymouth Art Weekender; Mills Bakery Atrium, Royal William Yard, Plymouth; with Night Sounding and work by Rachael Allain, Laura Hopes, Juliet Middleton-Batts, and Karen Pearson (25 to 27 September 2015, 10am to 5pm)

CMIR-RWA Moving Image Art Bursaries Winners exhibition, Fedden Gallery, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol (premiere, 27 October to 2 November, and 25 to 30 November 2014)