Lines of Flight

Jeppe is a researcher and writer who explores the connections between cultural narratives, worldviews and social change. Emily is an artist and wordsmith who works in mixed-media, textiles and words.
The filmpoem Lines of Flight is an audio-visual manifestation of a conversation we had over four months about belonging, migration and journeying. As a creative collaboration it is an experiment in finding ways to express our exploration of these themes in shared metaphors and imagery.

Having had an inkling to work together without a clear idea of how or on what, we found a starting point in Jeppe’s blog post Lines of flight in a time of endings. The image of lines representing individual experiences provided an opening for a conversation about finding community and home in a time characterised by change and uncertainty.

When Emily received an invitation from Alastair Cook to make a submission for the Filmpoem Festival 2014, we began to think about how our inquiry could translate into audio-visual representations. And so the ideas for Lines of Flight slowly developed in conversation and in written exchange once we had found this beginning – we have created this piece entirely through online contact, and have only met in person once before.

The collaboration developed as iterations of conversation, individual reflections, sketching and experimenting with different forms of expression. The themes of migration and journeying connect with recent life experiences for us both and became a crucible for deliberating these aspects of our lives together. It was a new way of working for both of us which provided a growing vocabulary for describing our thoughts and feelings and new means of expressing these artistically.

What perhaps characterised our mode of working together in particular was a shared sense of detachment from the outcome of our inquiry and an openness to let new elements enter the work whenever they arose. This meant that we felt free to follow the themes we were exploring wherever they took us. We often sensed immediately when we had hit on an image or phrasing that had a particular power to us, and in this way a structure gradually emerged which guided further experimentation – our personal and different lines of flight finding a resonance.

It is in some ways strange to compare the process of co-creating the filmpoem with the ‘final’ version as there has been a strong element of serendipity involved in its creation. The filmpoem holds a lot of personal experiences and points to ways of relating to each other and our wider circles of friendship which we are only beginning to see more clearly. ‘Circling amongst each other, we know when to turn’ suggests that we are part of a slowly evolving network of strong relationships between people who are living through a particular kind of transition. That we are not alone. This has partly grown out of the Dark Mountain Project, which is also how we first met.

We have tried to creatively address the balance of migration/nomadism in modern life and the sense of coming back to ground; feeling at home in a place, possibly more than one place and always in our own journeys. We see the meditative quality of the filmpoem, almost like an incantation evoking feelings of empowered rootedness, as a kind of antidote to the anxiety that accompanies moving around which allows finding a sense of trust in an unfolding path, of living in transition.

The poem has another particular power for us: the patience to wait for what is really worthwhile, to tap into a deep sense or inner knowing that meaningful and sustainable change takes its own time. Something about it invokes what is meant to be (even if that is unknown or not easily described). And there are still many aspects to the poem which we can’t quite put into words because it grew out of questions which we are still inquiring into.

In many ways it feels like we have only scratched the surface of Lines of Flight, and we hope some to use the content as starting points for further work. Building this collaborative narrative has activated new ways of working and supported multi-disciplinary creativity. Making Lines of Flight has been a powerful way of tapping into our inner sense of direction and passion. We hope that our work has a similar effect for viewers, in offering a little poetic orientation to help navigate each of our journeys through a time of personal change and wider transition.

Lines of Flight was screened at the 2014 Filmpoem Festival in Antwerp.

 

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