Wormwood: end of July

Here we are again, Steve and I, on our now regular exploration of this part of North West London. Unlike the last mini expedition, when the atmosphere was so thick and still it could be cut with a knife, today everything is nimble, translucent, in a state of flux. There is a palpable sense of impermanence in every scene we encounter and with it comes an urge to stop and steal some of these ephemeral scenes on camera, before wind reassembles them. The light glistens, glimmers, pierces the green carpet of the canal, then vanishes at once. The weed kisses the barbed wires, then bounces back.

Even my mode of filming has changed, my shots are briefer, I stop more frequently, always distracted by a new impression.

As we walk and talk about this place, how it will be redeveloped, gone (so hard to believe when everything is so fully present), I am seized by a sense of urgency, as if I were solely responsible for fixing this reality in time, on camera, in memory.

I am fascinated by the different textures found here, textures which hold their own stories and memories. The rusty roofs, red bricks, the faded blue corrugated metal…

I try and assemble my own little palette of textures and emotions from this walk:

corrugated blue metal

bleached childhood memories of summer

sound of a bicycle bell, interruption

feeling of wind on the skin

distance and presence at once

light and shadow dancing on rippled water

sense of melancholy

inflatable paddling pool filled with soaking underwear

smell of burning weed

wild flowers growing out of cracks on walls

creeking of corrugated metal in wind, a building digesting itself.

stillness and motion inside each other

And then little scenes:

A clear surface of water, reflecting the sky and clouds, assembled together with a texture of duck weed, so dense, but slowly becoming dispersed by the wind. Then sudden appearance of a light and shadow, the zig zag structure of the bridge through which the sun projects its beams. Like an apparition…

The surprising elegance of the industrial warehouse painted in stripes, reflected in the canal. A sudden gush of wind, sending electric currents across water to us. Everything is made of vibrations.

A dead pigeon in the grass. The sunlight illuminates one of its folded wings and dances on the blue grey plumage. I can see the pigeon’s departing soul.

The final scene: a boat like a sunken cathedral. An echo of a dream I once had, a cathedral buried by a tide, on a sandy beach, where I sheltered from the rising seas.

I am becoming conscious of how this place, with each new walk we take, is burrowing its way under my skin, through my senses, digested in dreams, assimilated into my system, the paths and digressions converted into the pattern of synapsis inside my brain.

The inside and outside becoming a seamless landscape.

TS 28th July 2018



Stills from a film in making, Tereza Stehlikova 2018

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