Jute

Posted by Bradley L. Garrett on Saturday Nov 27, 2010 Under Academia, Archaeology, Cultural Geography, Film, Heritage, Ruins, Spatial Politics, Urban Exploration

I spent a week in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month, taking some necessary downtime after a heavy few months of publication submissions. The city was beautiful and I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to work on a new project. Which of course I did. My plane touched down back in London November 20th at 9pm and by November 21st at 6am I was on a train to Scotland.

Istanbul

I arrived in Dundee to meet with Michael Gallagher, Jonathan Prior, Brian Rosa, Tom Croll-Knight, Jennifer Rich, Jackie Calderwood, Amanda Repo Taiwo Thompson and Jessica Jacobs to take part in a workshop called working creatively with sound and image organised by Michael and Jonathan from the University of Edinburgh.

At the workshop, we were given a free hand to produce whatever we felt drawn to and I ended up organically gravitating to Brian and Jonathan who I have worked with previously on smaller projects. We decided in the end to attempt to produce a small film in the 3 days we had to work. We envisaged the film being roughy based around the Jute industry which thrived in Dundee at one time but has been long dead, now surviving as urban memory as part of the flagging tourist industry here. We went into the city armed with video cameras and audio recorders to try and locate connections between the historic industrial Jute city, the port that was essential to the transportation of the Jute and the changes that are taking place within the city that both build on and and overwrite that rich maritime heritage. In the end, the film also became as much about process as discovery as we found that the story we sought was buried in the urban palimpsest.

Methodologically, we were interested in making a film that broke from traditional documentary form, a piece led by sound (collected by Jonathan and Michael) rather than visuals (collected by Brian and myself) only taken from our time in “the field”. We were particularly careful to avoid narration or a film score, leaving the viewer with, we hope, a strong sense of a particular place at a particular time.

Given that the film is built around the audio, it is best watched with headphones on. Hope you enjoy it!

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London’s Olympic Waterscape

Posted by Bradley L. Garrett on Friday Feb 5, 2010 Under Archaeology, Cultural Geography, Film, Uncategorized

London/Water

I haven’t been out exploring for some time. My energies as of late have been devoted to writing my thesis, preparing my students for a field class in New York City in March and getting ready to begin filming our Creative Campus Initiative project London’s Olympic Waterscapes. London is set to host the 2012 Olympic games and we have been generously funded to create a June exhibit about what this means for the city’s waterways. Wicked.

Well, I am happy to report that my students are off and running with their project proposals and that we have finally started filming for the Olympics project! It started last Sunday, rather unexpectedly, when William Raban, Director of Thames Film (1986) texted me in response to my inquiry letter and asked me to come along for an interview during the final day of his exhibit in East London. Amy Cutler and I went out and had a fantastic morning chatting with one of the legends of London filmmaking who showed us rushes from his new film and told us about the similarities he sees today with when he made Thames Film, just before Margaret Thatcher tore into the city.

William Raban

William Raban on the 21st floor of Balfour Tower over East London

The fun continued today with an interview at the Olympic site with Rob McCarthy, the Olympic area coordinator for the UK Environment Agency. Rob spoke to me, Terri Moreau and Michael Anton about how he has been working in the area for 30 years and how the Olympics has money pouring into the area causing unprecedented changes to the waterways. Rob was fantastic, fielding the interview in between trains, moving locations multiple times and in the end, driving us around to the Olympic Stadium to get some footage of the construction.

Rob McCarthy teaches us a thing or two

Monday we are scheduled to sit down with Iain Sinclair, one of the literary giants of our age and an unabashed critic of the Olympic development. In the meantime, rest-assured, an exploration is planned for Sunday so you can see more pictures of decaying, decrepit and disused dreadfulness. In the meantime, imagine this as a ruin in 2013:

2012

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