Hinterland

by Johnson, Esther

Video 2002

Duration
12
Original format
film: 16mm
Aspect ratio
1:33
Screens
1
Funder
self funded/RCA
Exhibition
Royal College of Art, S1/Salon, Figuring Landscapes, also screened at many film festival/galleries thereafter.

Coastal erosion is the theme of this powerful documentary work in which the voices of Holderness residents describe their lives clinging to the edge of a rapidly crumbling cliff edge. ‘Home’ no longer offers a safe retreat as they enjoy the last months of a sea view with sanguine resignation.

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As a child I often visited the Skipsea area on the coastline of East Yorkshire, and was fascinated by its single lane of houses, which stand at the very edge of a cliff. I wanted to know what it was like to live in such a place and in 2002 I made a film about its unique community.The soundtrack comprises the voices of three residents, as they reveal how they survive,and wildtrack sound from the location. The Holderness coast has been retreating in the face of the North Sea for around 6,000 years. Each year an average of 1.8 metres of the cliff recedes before the relentless pounding of the waves.The film explores how it feels to live in such a precarious situation, with one’s home constantly and tangibly threatened by the elements. I included moments of contempla¬tive space wherein the viewer can connect the residents’ experiences with scientific facts – hence the title card quotations interspersed throughout. Hinterland plays as a poem to the people who live on Europe’s fastest-eroding coastline.

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