The poet Lavinia Greenlaw has written and directed The Sea is an Edge and an Ending, a short film investigating what it means to lose your memory and disappear into the present tense. Its framework is a sequence she wrote about her father’s death from Alzheimer’s. The film focuses on what it means for your sense of self to come loose and for the past to float free. It carries echoes of Shakespeare’s Tempest in its study of a man under a kind of spell, whose child must observe his strange and terrifying liberation. The film moves from the shifting coastal landscape of the east of England, a geography central to Greenlaw’s life and work, to eroded interiors containing only the bare structures and reduced emblems of this man’s life. The Sea is an Edge and an Ending is Greenlaw’s first film and extends the practice she developed in her award-winning sound work, Audio Obscura.
On her first endeavour using moving image, poet Lavinia Greenlaw comments:
“When I started to write poems about my father’s disappearance into dementia, I
found that I was gathering images alongside them: a dead tree, a concrete bunker, a
peeling ceiling, a locked cupboard, an empty sky. It was clear that this work, which is
in part about the loss of language, was emphatically visual and I was encouraged by
FVU to take my first step into film.”
“Film is also the medium that most explicitly addresses the question of how we frame
and fix images, which has always been a key preoccupation of mine.”
“I didn’t want to produce a narrative of illness but to use my father’s illness to explore
what it means when your mind comes loose and you lose connection, constraint, the
names of things and then their meaning.”
The film will premiere in September at Estuary 2016, a festival curated in response to the spectacular landscape of the Thames Estuary.
The Sea is an Edge and an Ending was commissioned by FVU and Metal with the support of Wellcome Trust. Supported by Arts Council England.
The work features performances by Michael Byrne and Rebecca Calder. Greenlaw worked with Grant Gee as Director of Photography and Lucas Roche as Editor. Produced by FVU.
Credit line Commissioned by FVU and Metal with the support of Wellcome Trust. Supported by Arts Council England.
The Sea is An Edge and An Ending will be one of the works included in Points of
Departure, an exhibition of 25 contemporary artists as part of Estuary 2016. Dates: 17 – 30 September 2016 at Tilbury Cruise Terminal, Ferry Road, Tilbury, RM18 7NG. FREE ENTRY. Special festival weekend of activities 17-18 September 11am – 7pm both days. Opening hours on other days 11am – 4pm. Closed 24 September. Press preview 16 September 2016.
Lavinia Greenlaw is a writer known for investigating the shared imperatives of art and science. She has published five collections of poetry, most recently The Casual Perfect and A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde. Her other books include The Importance of Music to Girls and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland. She was the first artist-in-residence at London’s Science Museum and one of the first artists to be given a Wellcome Engagement Fellowship. Audio Obscura, her immersive soundwork for Artangel/Manchester International Festival, won the 2011 Ted Hughes Award. She was Professor of Poetry at the University of East Anglia until 2013.
FVU commissions, curates, produces and presents artists’ moving-image works that are staged in collaboration with galleries and other cultural partners. Since the late 1980s, FVU has been at the forefront of this vibrant and expanding area of practice, promoting innovation through its support of some of the most exciting figures on the contemporary scene. During this time, the organisation has commissioned and produced nearly 200 different artists’ projects, ranging from ambitious multi-screen installations to shorter film and video pieces, as well as numerous online commissions. fvu.co.uk
Estuary 2016 is a new biennial arts festival created by arts organisation, Metal. Sixteen days of art, literature, music and film curated in response to the spectacular Thames Estuary provides an eclectic programme of exhibitions, performance, conference and events and pulls together powerful themes resonant to the place, its landscape, history and communities. estuaryfestival.com