A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE
A FILMIC STUDY ON THE NATURE OF GRIEF
INTENT + DEEPER DETAIL
FRAMEWORK + DEVELOPMENT
Initially conceived and crafted within the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE does not derive from a pre-empted script - its form and story have been led entirely by impulses and events arising out of sustained encounters between the body and natural momentum of the land in real time.
As a piece, it follows as it unfolds.
Its purpose has been to enquire solely upon the nature of grief
from the perspective of grief itself.
Evolving in this way, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE has continued development since 2020 as an ongoing, interactive film-theatre project. To date it has screened as work-in-progress at CAST (Cornubian Arts + Science Trust), Cornwall, UK in March 2022 and Scenstudion Gerlesborg, Sweden in September 2022.
DELIVERY + AUDIENCE RELATIONSHIP
The films are designed to hold a central, neutral focus as they speak in the language of the natural world - which is accessible to all - yet, as audience, we gaze upon the same thing through different cultural and experiential lenses, in this way, each of us hold a different perspective.
Interested in opening out dialogue, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is meant to serve as a vehicle for exploration and aims to build an ever expanding picture of the human relationship with grief through the journey it treads by listening to our audience, at the same time as observing ancient grief traditions on a pan-cultural basis.
Similar to an ongoing conversation, the project is not designed to deliver as an ‘end product’, but, like the ebb and flow of grief over time, exist as an ever-changing work of collective reflection and art.
Audience response plays a vital role in guiding the project and it is hoped voices will gather to weave through the fibre of the piece, in this way, the project deepens, as it diversifies - for audiences to come.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
THE PERFORMANCE PROCESS
As an artist, it is vital I have no preconception or expectation around what might emerge in response to the essential question (or quest) of the piece. We are interested in listening closely to the intelligence of grief itself as a natural force in order to understand it better, rather than looking for any kind of familiar human interpretation. Curiosity is key, along with working from a starting place of humility and not knowing. The performance process respects the natural world's incredible intelligence, and must travel through sustained contact with the land and all natural forces of that time to see what reflections arise. In time, choreography is drawn directly through and out of the sensate dialogue between human and earth, and over time, a story, unique unto itself, will form. This is the entire point of this work. It is an act of translation. During this phase poetics are written, the spoken word becomes another form of translation. It is a long, patient process.
As the attention of the performer has to be complete and unwavering for hours at a time, the most effective way to film is on a single camera, through a still frame and solo. Camera crew are brought in for detail at a later stage. In this way, the entire creation of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE was designed to be Covid-proof, as lockdowns did not affect progress and production continued - come what may.
DEEP TIME + SLOW CINEMA
If we are to truly observe, in fine detail, the nuanced relationship between human and earth, and within that - how the passage of grief unfolds in an unobstructed way - it is necessary to find a way to travel our audience into those worlds. Deep time is the passage of time that lives outside of ordinary human awareness. We come away from the frenetic tempo of daily life, to immerse ourselves in the long, slow rhythms of geological time, and in doing so, open out an entirely unique perspective. Allowing ourselves to enter deep time, allows us to step inside and experience this world, and yet - it is still our world. Here we bear witness to the human form in this context, and in turn - it evokes the question - who and what are we really? What reflections might we see?
As we travel into deep time, we, as humans, must adapt to follow its rhythms. Watching through the lens of SLOW CINEMA gives to this process. To stay close, we need to drop out of fast moving cinema - and simply watch through the steady and patient gaze of a still frame. Slow cinema sees in a different way. Simple and uncluttered, it heightens detail inside natural dialogue which we might ordinarily miss, speaking to us through us a language that is innate.
BOOK OF POEMS
A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is made rich with layers of poetry and the spoken word. Poetics, imagery from the films, interviews, audience contributions and selected diary entries will be made available in book form in time.
A skeleton copy of BOOK OF POEMS is available for audience members to take away from screenings as an interim and can be pre-booked HERE.
OUTREACH + COURSES
Specially developed courses in earth engaged performance accompany A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE and can be made available after the event on request.
COLLABORATORS + CONTRIBUTORS
Production - Spiderflower: Earth-Engaged Performance Research
Rowan Jacqueline - Writing, Direction, Performance + Lead Camera
Nooshka Storm - Performance for Snot (Stanza 3) + Sea (Stanza 4)
Henry McGrath - Early Development, Creative Facilitation + Camera for Detail
Linden Gledhill - High Speed Macro Cinematography 'Moths in Flight' for Threshold (Stanza 2)
Rob Purday - Music
Willa Harlatt - Creative Facilitation for Snot (Stanza 3) + Salt (Stanza 4)
Critique Circle - Bernadette Kearns, Maddy Morton + Sandra Falkeborn
Supported by - Fabrica, The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust, Creative Cornwall, Cornwall Council and The National Trust, Penrose Cornwall and our very many Crowdfunders.