by Collins, Nick

16mm 2002

Original format
Figuring Landscapes

A beach in Newhaven on the Sussex coast is the setting for this elegant visual essay. Details of the beach give the view close to the ground, at arm’s length, while the aspirations of horizon interweave the meditation on place.

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Tidemills was shot over two summers (2001 and 2002) and documents a beach at Newhaven on the Sussex coast. It is the last of three films I have made in, and to some extent about, coastal locations, the others being Sanday (part 2, 1986/88) and By the Woodyard (1998/99). Tidemills is in the form of a composite afternoon – composite in that it was shot over an extended period, framed in the film by the departure and return of the ferry seen at the opening and at the end. Besides the inherent interest of the place – its mild desolateness, its light, shadows and vistas – I am interested in the capacity of film and video to convey simultaneity (a sense that events are taking place at the same time). As inherently temporal media, they also convey sequentiality (a sense that things are happening over time) in different proportions, dependent on sequence construction, camera movement (or lack of it) and so on. The discovery of these capacities in film stems in large part from D.W Griffith in the period between 1909 and 1914. In the work of Griffith these methods of construction are used to narrative ends. I am interested in using them for different purposes – to convey, besides the passage of time across a day or an afternoon, senses of both instantaneity and of the more extended present of everyday awareness. Nick Collins, 2008


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