British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies
Time and the Body in Film, Television and Screen Studies
7 to 9 April 2021, hosted by University of Southampton Centre for International Film Research (CIFR)
Session D: Politics beyond the human

Flow and Cadence: Landscape Film-making in The Laira Estuary
The paper included a 10-minute recorded presentation, which was available online to delegates before the conference, with a live spoken 10-minute introduction on the day. After the conference, University of Southampton archived the recorded presentation - watch on YouTube.
The presentation concerns an ongoing practice research film project, which is intimately concerned with materiality and affects of temporality and place. Using two 35mm direct animation film poems, Flow and Cadence – made collaboratively with film-maker and sound artist, Stuart Moore – as case studies, the paper critically reflects on the multiple modalities of time and temporal rhythms operating during the production period and within these moving image artworks.

The research embodies a feminist posthuman position aligned to Rosi Braidotti’s foregrounding of the materiality and vulnerability of human existence and ethics in relation to the nonhuman. It extends the psychoanalytic feminist strategies of Hélène Cixous’ and Luce Irigaray’s écriture féminine to destabilise the anthropos and rupture binary hierarchical relationships such as privileging ‘culture’ over ‘nature’. The contingent nature of the exploratory research process enables the methodological strategy to emerge through the course of film-making, rather than pursuing preconceived outcomes. It foregrounds the body and confers agency to the nonhuman, and considers matter to be active rather than passive and inert, a participant rather than an object to be observed and examined. This integrated and innovative approach accentuates reflexivity and enables multiple timeframes and genealogies to evolve in relation to place, identity and memory.

This poetic practice is a radical alternative to mainstream landscape and nature film-making. Flow and Cadence are created with the wild flowers that grow along the shore of The Laira estuary, the tidal mouth of the River Plym, on the southwest coast of Britain. The flowers, collected during walks, were laid onto strips of 35mm clear film to create the imagery. 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.

Image: iPhone documentation, the hulk of the Ocean Maid, southern shore of the Laira, Plymouth (22 January 2021)