Like most freelance creatives, I’ve suddenly found myself with a large amount of spare time and a significant deficit of commercial work (i.e., none…). (For the benefit of anyone massively socially distant in space or time, just Google “Covid 19” to find out why.)
Time, then, to devote to video experiments and so, on my daily runs out into the countryside surrounding the village where I live, I’ve been harvesting 360° video clips of the landscape as I’ve run through it. All of the locations are places I’ve been visiting regularly whilst out running for almost two decades now and so focusing on them has helped maintain an element of normality about daily life which would otherwise have vanished. These are the same streams, quarries, moors, bridges, waterfalls, mills and ruins that I have been visiting for years. Some of the locations barely change from day to day, week to week, or month to month, or change is so slow that it barely registers. On the other hand, some places can change dramatically over night. A stretch of moorland I filmed two days ago was destroyed by fire several hours after my visit and video taken on two consecutive days seems to be from different planets.
Collecting these videos, then, roots me in the the familiar, keeps me occupied and helps me forget, for a short while, the virus ravaging the country like a moorland fire.
But it would be a lie to pretend that everything is normal. People I meet outdoors move several metres off the path when they see me coming. The dog walkers have vanished, along with their charges. Planes no longer fly overhead. There is no drone of distant traffic. Everything is the same but everything has changed and, so, the videos need to reflect this. Thus, they are both familiar and strange: real places with an element of the ideal about them. Somewhere to vanish for a few minutes before being thrown back into a world turned upside down.