The Other Side of Now
The Other Side of Now03-470
Year of release: 2021
Original format: 16mm Ektachrome film, Super 8mm film
Running time: 2 minutes 25 seconds
Screening format: digital screening versions available
Credits: A collaboration between David Sergeant, Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore
Poem written by David Sergeant, touching on words by Fredric Jameson
Poem spoken by Ruth Mitchell
Film created by Stuart Moore and Kayla Parker
With thanks to: Emma Whittaker, Low Carbon Devon; John Salim Photographic; James Holcombe, erehwon film; Paul Hardman and Naomi Fowkes, Sustainable Earth Institute
Poem © Copyright David Sergeant
Film © Copyright Sundog Media and David Sergeant
A Sustainable Earth Institute Creative Associates commission, University of Plymouth
Production: Sundog Media
Distribution and sales: Sundog Media

A short film poem by artists Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore in collaboration with the writer and academic, David Sergeant. Nature colonises the abandoned public spaces of the present-day city, rewilded by visions from past and possible futures. The actor Ruth Mitchell voiced the poem, which flows through the film, as 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.
The Other Side of Now page Sustainable Earth Institute, University of Plymouth

2021 [page with poem and enlarged 16mm film still, Blagdon's Meadow] Sphere, Sustainable Earth Institute, University of Plymouth. Publication date 1 November 2021.

2021 Fab City Plymouth Open Day Sustainability Hub, University of Plymouth (12.00pm to 6.00pm, 22 September 2021)

Research statement
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 Sergeant’s recent poetry and academic research have been exploring these questions, which also underpin the creative collaboration here.

We used a vintage Bolex clockwork camera and Kodak 16mm Ektachrome film 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.

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.

The actor and theatre maker Ruth Mitchell performed the text under direction from David. The quality of her voice allowed her to embody the poem’s words with the subtle nuances and modulations that were needed for this project. As well as the spoken word, the sound design for the film includes field recordings made at the locations.
The Other Side of Now documentatio-filming-Beaumont-Park-470Image 1: 16mm film still, abandoned ornamental pool with missing fountain and phoenix statue, garden terrace, Armada Way, Plymouth
Image 2: documentation, filming with 16mm Bolex camera on location, Beaumont Park, Plymouth