COPPICE

 

2022 / Duration: 35 mins

By observing the changes in the landscape, be it violent transformations through extraction and enclosure or restorative ones through seasonal regrowth and reclamation, it was made clear that woodlands and our relation to them are consistently shifting and reforming. Can we reinstate our fading acceptance of the natural world as a place of mysterious intelligence by listening attentively?

 

It is hard to picture the scale of the iron industry of the Weald today. A large amount of the violence inflicted upon the landscape has healed over, only expressing its scars when you know what to look for. However, beginning in the early 16th century, vast quantities of iron were extracted from the area due to the actions of an industry that lasted for over 200 years.

Coppice (2022) is a film rooted in a feeling of psychic dislocation with land. This feeling began a practise of travelling from the artist’s home in south London to visit a small woodland in Haywards Heath. These visits instigated an attempt at ‘re-enchanting’ himself, through spending time with and allowing himself to be compromised by the magic inherent in the woods. The ability to notice the scars left by its industrial past was one of the first signs that he had begun to attune to the ghosts of the landscape. Alongside the woodland and those who inhabit it, Sam Risley worked closely with Simon Adamczewski, a friend of the woodland and Lara Laeverenz, a singer and artist. With their own relation to the woodland, they become expressions of this search for communion.

By observing the changes in the landscape, be it violent transformations through extraction and enclosure or restorative ones through seasonal regrowth and reclamation, it was made clear that woodlands and our relation to them are consistently shifting and reforming. Can we reinstate our fading acceptance of the natural world as a place of mysterious intelligence by listening attentively?

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